What are the techniques or tricks which can help us maximize our chance of finding what we want with online search?
This article helps you learn effective online search tips and techniques.
I am an educator dealing in reception years and thus I suggest early year teachers to start searching for educational stuff by using these keywords:
- Early years
- Foundation stage
- EYFS (Early years foundation stage)
- Type the subject in search field such as 'art, religion, numeracy, literacy etc.
Effective online search tips and techniques:
Type one or more words that best describe what you are looking for or numbers, e.g. ISBN, and press the Enter key or click the Search button.
Choosing search words
- If you're looking for a particular item, choose a few of the most specific words from the information you know about it, such as the author name and the title. Often, two words are enough.
- For example, to find 'As I walked out one midsummer morning' by Laurie Lee, try lee midsummer. To find 'Kind of blue' by Miles Davis, try davis kind.
- To find what the library has on a particular topic, start with the main word or words that describe the topic. For a tourist guide to Spain, try spain guide or spain guidebooks. For items on the history of Spain, try spain history. More specifically, for the Spanish Civil War, try spain civil war or spanish civil war.
Normally there is no need to type capital letters. All letters are treated as lower case, regardless of how you type them. For example, searches for King Arthur and king arthur will give you the same results. There are two special cases where capital letters are used. See the sections on 'Alternate words' and 'Excluding words'.
There is no need to type accents on letters. All accented letters are treated the same as the letter without an accent. For example, searches for molière and moliere will give you the same results.
There is no need to type punctuation such as apostrophes, commas and periods, as these are ignored. For example, searches for blair's britain and blairs britain will give you the same results. This is also true of the hyphen but for more about hyphens, see the section on Alternate words.
All words match
By default, the results of your search will only contain descriptions of books and other items that include all of your search words. There is no need to include 'and' between words. To reduce the number of results, you can simply add more words to your search. For example, for a guidebook to Spain, try spain guidebook.
Normally, very common words such as 'a', 'and', 'of' and 'the' are dropped from searches. For example, searches for a day in the life and day life will give you the same results. To include such words to narrow your search, see the section on Phrases.
You can reduce your results by using the word NOT (it must be in capitals) to tell the catalogue to exclude results that contain a particular word. For example, to find results with the word midsummer but to exclude those that also have the word night, try midsummer NOT night.
Sometimes, in addition to searching for the precise words in your search query, the catalogue will also try similar words. This is in addition to the disregarding of capital letters, accents and punctuation described above. Results found by these similar words will be ranked lower in the list of results, but they may help you find a useful item that you would otherwise have missed. Note that this only works with English words.
Singular and plural variations and variations on word stems are tried, so farm, farms and farmer all find each other, as do memory and memories. Hyphens are retained, but hyphenated words are also treated as a single word without the hyphen, and as two separate words. For example, twenty-first and twentyfirst will find the same results, and twenty first will find the same results plus any others with those two separate words.
You can include your own alternate words by preceding each one with the word OR (it must be in capitals). This tells the catalogue to find results that contain either word or both words. For example, spanish OR italian will find items with both of those words as well as items with only one of those words.
Phrases: If you are looking for something that is expressed as a phrase, you can make your search more precise by telling the catalogue to treat your search as a phrase rather than as separate words. To do this, enclose your search words in quotation marks and do not exclude any words from inside the phrase. This can be particularly effective with titles, for example "a day in the life" or "portrait of the artist".