Tom’s Tech Tips

Tom’s Tuesday Tech Tip: Google Smarter Not Harder

Okay – this week it’s search engine tips. Google is by far the most popular search engine today. Many legal nurse consultants even use it as a verb (“No Billy I won’t help you spell tuberous. You’ll just have to Google it.”). So, if you’re going to use Google to the illogical exclusion of all other methods of searching, here’s how:

  • Limit your searches to use exact phrase searches. Encase your search phrase in quotation marks “certified legal nurse consultant” to only get results that have that exact phrase somewhere in the document. If you leave off the quotation marks, your results will have the words from your phrase throughout the document, in order or not.
  • Limit your sources to limit your results. Any general search will turn up pages and pages of results from just about every top level domain (TLD) such as .com, .us, .edu, .etc. You’ll have to sort through a lot of not-so-useful results to get to what you want. Limit your searches to just domains with the type of TLD site you want to search, such as “student loan sources site:gov.” This will give you information from only .gov sites. This works if you know where you want to look for what you’re looking for.
  • Limit your searches to specific file types. Lots of government documents are stored on the Web as PDFs. If your initial searches give you the confidence to search for a PDF (or any other form of document) type “filetype:PDF” after your search and your results will be limited to results in that document format.
  • Be wordy. Believe it or not I’ll actually type a whole sentence into the search box (with and then without quotation marks). Just about every question you can ask has been asked and answered by someone and this will sometimes take you straight to the answer you need.
  • Keep tabs on yourself. I use the Firefox browser as an alternative to Internet Explorer 7, and when I do a search, I like to right-click a link and open it in a new tab. This allows me to do a better job of remembering which links I’ve opened without all the back-clicking and reduces the possibility that I’ll lose my search results page and have to start over.
  • Don’t look in all the same places. Use more than one search site for your searches. (You can Google a list of search sites or search engines.) I’m guilty of this myself. I tend to rely on one search site. But different sites return different results depending upon how they index their information. Your best bet when searching is to keep open multiple tabs in your Firefox or IE7+ browsers and use a different search engine in each for the same information. You’ll be surprised by the varied results.

Keep on techin’,


5 thoughts on “Tom’s Tuesday Tech Tip: Google Smarter Not Harder

  1. Thank you for the post, “Google Smarter Not Harder”. With technology ever advancing, research tips are always helpful. I especially liked the note to “Limit your sources to limit your results”, i.e., limiting your search domain such as .com or .us. I have not done that and believe it will be beneficial in the future.

    I have to affirm that it is important to use more than one search engine. Depending on the topic, certain sites are more helpful than others.

    Thanks to you and Vickie for your continued encouragement.

  2. I appreciate all info you share about technology on this site as I am not a tech geek by any stretch of the imagination. The info on research tips is very helpful and will save many hours in researching in the future.

    Sometimes I feel like I was supposed to be born in another century where all this high tech stuff was not even thought of. Life must have been a lot less stressful.

  3. Judy – These ARE the good old days. Think of how much simpler computers (and cellphones) have made our lives and communications. Don’t feel lonely – you are still ahead of most of the world.

    Here’s one more tip – click on the Categories field drop down on the left side of Vickie’s Blog, then select “Tom’s Tech Tip” to quickly access all of my technology tips.

  4. Thank you for “Tom’s Tuesday’s Tech Tips.” My son added a hub to my desk. It’s faster and easier to connect/disconnect my lap top and it freed up desk space. Your post, “Google Smarter Not Harder” will also save me time. Now I will use the TLD sites and search for PDF files easier. Our Core Curriculum has many tips; however, I appreciate your updates and review.

    Reading others comments helps me feel that I am not alone when grappling with computer technology.

    Vickie’s Blog is informative, fun and encouraging. I look forward to reading it. Thank you.

  5. Tom – Thank you for your blog on “Tom’s Tuesday’s Tech Tips”. I just passed my CLNC® examination this month and am taking the microcomputer classes at my local college to learn how to use the lap top I purchased.

    The tip on using a hub to free up my lap top from connections made me very happy. I thought I was a computer expert after learning how to use a different computer system at all the hospitals I have worked at as a traveling perinatal nurse. It was a big surprise to me that I was entering a whole new computer world using a personal computer. I am so excited and am loving learning microcomputers in class. Your tips are a helpful addition and reinforce what they are teaching in class. I would like to recommend to others who are beginners like myself that it is inexpensive to take computer classes as a noncredit continuing education course with adults your own age. I believe we are all lifelong learners.

    Also I want to thank you for the tips on limit your sources. I took a free tour with the college librarian to learn helpful tips on how to use the library resources to improve my research skills. Your tips add to and reinforce what the librarian taught me. I would like to recommend to other CLNC®s learning to improve their research skill to take advantage of a free tour at your local college or university library. It was a wonderful opportunity and I was able to establish a friendly relationship with the librarian. She took my email address and keeps me informed of upcoming events at the library. This month attorney’s are speaking on community topics such as living wills. I plan to take advantage of this opportunity to learn and meet local attorneys.

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