Read On! Good Searching

One of the things we talked about at our Staff Training Day a few weeks ago was the importance of good search terms. Whether you’re using one of our online resources like EBSCO or you’re feeling lucky with a Google search, this advice applies to everyone searching for information online.

My example for the staff was searching for information on the American Civil War. First, we searched with just the terms “Civil War.” In EBSCO, our online resource for articles from peer-reviewed journals, magazines, and newspapers, this search gets results about a lot of civil wars. Not all of them are the one we actually want. When we add “American” to our “Civil War” search, we get a lot closer.

In a simple Google search, “Civil War” might get more information about the American Civil War, especially if you allow Google to know your location. Searching “Civil War” will also return a lot of information on the Marvel Universe’s Civil War. While entertaining, those results are not helpful for this search. When we add “American” to our “Civil War” search on Google, we are on a far better track!

When using the Library’s online resources, there are several simple ways to limit your search results and ensure you’re getting the information you want. (These search limits are almost always on the left-hand side of your search results.)

Google results are a little trickier to limit and to ensure you’re getting correct information. Using the “Advanced Search” in the “Settings” section is a good place to start. Once you start exploring your results, if it’s a site you’re not familiar with, check the site’s “About” section. If you can’t find one, or if the “About” section doesn’t sound right, you might look for another result. If you need help with any of your search results, we’re happy to help.