Make Google behave: techniques for better search results

Category: Others/ Misc

Presentation Description

Edited version of the presentation given at the UKeiG workshop on 30th October 2013 in London. Covers Google search options and advanced search commands, and Google databases such as Google Finance, Public Data Explorer, Google Finance.


Presentation Transcript

PowerPoint Presentation:

29/10/2013 1 Make Google Behave: techniques for better results Tuesday, 30 th April 2013 Manchester This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services , Slides will be available on and . Also available temporarily at

Fact sheets:

Fact sheets The fact sheets are available at Search Strategies - Top Search Tips Search Strategies - Selected Google Commands Search Strategies - Google Search Tips Search Strategies - Search Tools Summary and Comparison 29/10/2013 2

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Why do we use Google? Often gives 'good enough' results with minimal effort from the searcher Great coverage Personalisation Problems? Google thinks it knows best when it comes to the search strategy Too much information Personalisatio n 29/10/2013 3

Five things you need to know about Google :

Five things you need to know about Google Google personalises your search Personalises search based on location past search history past browsing activity activity in other areas of Google e.g. YouTube, Google Reader content from contacts in your personal networks may be given priority what you and others have ‘liked’, g+1 29/10/2013 4

Five things you need to know about Google :

Five things you need to know about Google 1. Google personalises your search 29/10/2013 5 Non-personalised search Personalised search

“Un-personalise” your search:

“Un-personalise” your search Chrome - New Incognito window FireFox - Tools, Start Private Browsing Internet Explorer – Tools, InPrivate Browsing Switch off web/search history Log out of your Google account Clear cookies 29/10/2013 6

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29/10/2013 7

Five things you need to know about Google:

Five things you need to know about Google 2. Google automatically looks for variations on your terms and omits terms 29/10/2013 8

Five things you need to know about Google:

Five things you need to know about Google 2. Google automatically looks for variations on your terms and omits terms To force an exact match and inclusion of a term in a search prefix it with ‘ intext :’ UK public transport intext:biodiesel statistics “..” around terms does not always work Verbatim – runs your search exactly as you have typed it in Google Scholar does not drop terms Google Scholar – can still use ‘+’ before a term to force an exact match 29/10/2013 9

Google Verbatim:

Google Verbatim Run your search On the results page select Search tools, All results, Verbatim 29/10/2013 10

Five things you need to know about Google:

Five things you need to know about Google 3. Google web search does not search everything Two indexes: main, default index and the supplemental index Supplemental index may contain less popular, unusual, specialist material Supplemental index comes into play when Google thinks your search has returned too few results Using advanced search commands and Verbatim seems to trigger a search in the supplemental index 29/10/2013 11

PowerPoint Presentation:

29/10/2013 12 “Normal search” 1,555,500 Search after Verbatim is applied 35,500,000

Five things you need to know about Google:

Five things you need to know about Google 4. Google changes its algorithms several hundred times a year Some changes are minor and barely noticeable, others are more significant e.g. dropping search terms How Google makes improvements to its search algorithm - YouTube 29/10/2013 13

Five things you need to know about Google:

Five things you need to know about Google 5. We are all Google’s lab rats Google constantly tests changes on users in “live experiments” Just Testing: Google Users May See Up To A Dozen Experiments : Mostly minor effects on search but sometimes totally bizarre results Google decides that coots are really lions Update on coots vs. lions 29/10/2013 14

What does Google know about you:

What does Google know about you Sign in to your Google account and go to Check your ad preferences at 29/10/2013 15

Google tries to work out your location:

Google tries to work out your location Country based on your IP address Town/city based on your IP address/network provider Google can get this wrong Google switches between Bristol and Exeter for my location (I’m in Reading) Can tell Google your location in Search settings (hidden under the cog wheel in the upper right hand area of your results page) 29/10/2013 16

Google Instant:

Google Instant Tries to predict what you are searching for as you type and displays results as you type 29/10/2013 17

Google Instant:

Google Instant Only displays 10 results at a time Disable Google Instant in Search Settings under the cog wheel (upper right hand area of a Google results screen) or go to 29/10/2013 18

Country versions of Google and local information:

Country versions of Google and local information Country versions of Google give priority to local content Useful if you are researching a person, company, or sector in another country Go to the relevant country version of Google, for example , , Google International Domains - List of Country and Language Codes Also search using ‘Translated foreign pages’ (see later) 29/10/2013 19 : 29/10/2013 20 : 29/10/2013 21 : 29/10/2013 22

Google Knowledge Graph and carousel:

Google Knowledge Graph and carousel 29/10/2013 23

Google carousel:

Google carousel 29/10/2013 24

New layout?:

New layout? 29/10/2013 25 4-6 entries at the top of the page that supposedly match your search (but may not) Related searches underneath with terms left out

New layout?:

New layout? 29/10/2013 26 Second page of results a bit better May need to use Verbatim to get best results

Yet more changes!:

Yet more changes! Results page preview with cached copy and similar pages has gone Instead we now have ..... 29/10/2013 27

Google goes mobile:

Google goes mobile 29/10/2013 28


Google+ Personal accounts and business pages Follow people/pages and add to circles Do not need permission to follow and add people to your circles Share postings and information with selected circles or make totally public Communities – “owned” and moderated by an individual or business Google web search starting to emphasise Google+ pages in results Google places/local now part of Google+ 29/10/2013 29

Google = Google+ ?:

Google = Google+ ? 29/10/2013 30 All roads lead to Google+ ?

PowerPoint Presentation:

29/10/2013 31

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What I see on my screen will not be what you see on your screen, will not be what your colleagues see on theirs, will not be what your users see. Google Scholar more consistent? 29/10/2013 32

Google's new Privacy Policy:

Google's new Privacy Policy 29/10/2013 33 " Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in , we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience. " Toward a simpler, more beautiful Google "we're more excited than ever to build a seamless social experience, all across Google"

Choosing your search terms:

Choosing your search terms Google automatically looks for synonyms and variations on your terms biofuels will find biodiesel, biogas, bio-ethanol etc. but do not get the same results if you use biodiesel instead of biofuels run separate searches using alternative terms no information on how the synonyms are identified or implemented The terms you use can radically change results copper mining north wales vs. copper extraction north wales organ donation vs human transplantation 29/10/2013 34

Changing your search terms:

Changing your search terms 29/10/2013 35

Changing your search terms:

Changing your search terms 29/10/2013 36

Two search tricks:

Two search tricks Both of these often change the results and the order in which they are presented Repeat important search terms in your search strategy renewable energy biofuels wave wind wind wind Change the order of your terms renewable energy biofuels wave wind wind renewable wave biofuels energy 29/10/2013 37

Google Trends :

Google Trends 29/10/2013 38 Compare how often search terms are used over time and by location

Google commands:

Google commands " " around phrases " Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar" to exclude a term Caversham –otago * to stand in for one or more words solar * panels Picks up solar PV panels, solar photovoltaic panels, solar water heating panels 29/10/2013 39

Google commands:

Google commands Think file format PDF for research documents, government reports, industry papers ppt or pptx for presentations, tracking down an expert on a topic xls or xlsx for spreadsheets containing data Use the advanced search screen or the filetype : command zeolites environmental remediation filetype:pdf nasa dark energy dark matter filetype:ppt nasa dark energy dark matter filetype:pptx annual average global temperature 1960..2012 filetype:xls annual average global temperature 1960..2012 filetype:xlsx 29/10/2013 40

Google commands:

Google commands Site search For searching large websites, or groups of sites by type for example government, NHS, academic Can exclude sites using -site: Use advanced search screen or site: command organ donation statistics Wales organ donation statistics Wales organ donation statistics organ donation statistics Wales -site:au 29/10/2013 41

Google commands:

Google commands Numeric range search Anything to do with numbers and quantities: years, temperatures, weights, distances, prices etc Use the advanced search screen or type in your two numbers separated by two full stops as part of your search   world oil demand forecasts 2015..2030 world oil demand forecasts 80..100 mb/d 2015..2030 toblerone 1..5 kg 29/10/2013 42

Google commands:

Google commands Words in the title – can be single words or phrases Ensures subject is the main focus of the article Use advanced search screen or intitle: intitle:”diabetic retinopathy” Words in the URL – can be single words or phrases Use advanced search screen or inurl: inurl:”diabetic retinopathy” 29/10/2013 43

Google Reading level:

Google Reading level Changes the type of material that is returned Nothing to do with publishers assigned reading age Run the search and from the menu above the results select Search tools , All results , Reading level 29/10/2013 44

Google Reading level:

Google Reading level 29/10/2013 45 Basic Advanced

Pages in foreign languages:

Pages in foreign languages For information on an industry, government policies, business practices in other countries For a different perspective on a topic 29/10/2013 46

Exclusive to – recipes!:

Exclusive to – recipes! 29/10/2013 47


Date Restrict your results to information that has been published within the last hour, day, week, month, year or your own date range Search tools , Any time and select an option  29/10/2013 48


daterange: Date restriction does not work with the ‘All results’ options Verbatim and Translated Foreign Pages Use daterange: command instead Uses Julian date format (fractions omitted) Julian Date Converter Syntax for example pages mentioning Cameron and housing benefits between June 20 th and June 26 th 2012 daterange:2456098-2456104 housing benefits Cameron 29/10/2013 49

daterange: the easy way:

daterange: the easy way Third party tools for the daterange : search, for example then apply search options to results 29/10/2013 50

Google can seriously damage your news:

Google can seriously damage your news Experiment by Mary Ellen Bates Is Google really filtering my news? - Librarian of Fortune Google can seriously damage your news Highlights More than a quarter of the stories showed up in only one searcher’s results Almost one in five searchers saw a story that no one else saw Only 12% of searchers saw the same three stories in the same order 29/10/2013 51

Google News :

Google News 29/10/2013 52 Can personalise news content when signed in to a Google account. Hidden underneath the cog wheel on the news home page. Change your location (automatically identified by Google), topics covered, sources and frequency of articles from sources.

Google News:

Google News 29/10/2013 53 Can limit results to a time period. Time options don’t always work in the ‘Archives’ Older material may be priced Can create email and RSS alerts for a search but unreliable

Google News – advanced search:

Google News – advanced search 29/10/2013 54 Hidden under the arrow in the search box


Blogs 29/10/2013 55 Run search and then click on More, followed by Blogs Once blog results are displayed can click on Search tools, Any time and select a time period

Discussion boards and forums :

Discussion boards and forums 29/10/2013 56 Click on More, Discussions No indication of how discussions and forums are identified

Google Videos:

Google Videos 29/10/2013 57 Not the same as YouTube Google Video YouTube

Google Videos:

Google Videos Run search, then select More, Videos 29/10/2013 58

Google Videos:

Google Videos 29/10/2013 59 Limit your search by duration, time, quality, source

Google Finance - :

Google Finance - 29/10/2013 60

Google finance historical share prices:

Google finance historical share prices 29/10/2013 61 Can only display and download one year at a time

Images - copyright:

Images - copyright Always, always check and double check the copyright - images may have a digital watermark and be tracked e.g. Digimarc Creative Commons does not mean you can do what you like with an image six licences “Open-licencing your images. What it means and how to do it.” Andy Mabbett aka pigsonthewing Karen Blakeman's Blog “Free-to-use images might not be” 29/10/2013 62

Google images – “free to use....”:

Google images – “free to use....” Google advanced image search - use the usage rights, but always double check the licence on the web site Licence may be assigned to another image on the page rather than the ne you want to use 29/10/2013 63


Images 29/10/2013 64

Images – more sizes:

Images – more sizes 29/10/2013 65

Images - colour:

Images - colour 29/10/2013 66

Images – not always what you expect:

29/10/2013 67 Images – not always what you expect Search for patent and select the colour red (Thanks to Arthur Weiss for the example)

Images – use an existing image:

Images – use an existing image 29/10/2013 68 Click on the camera icon in the search box and then either enter the URL of an image or upload the image

Google Art Project:

Google Art Project 29/10/2013 69

Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer One of Google's best kept secrets! 29/10/2013 70

Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer 29/10/2013 71

Google Maps:

Google Maps Post code areas, locations, directions Public transport for some countries Cycle routes for some areas Towpaths in conjunction with Canal and River Trust + Estimated fuel costs Satellite, Street View, photos, weather, videos Only as good as the underlying data – double check location 29/10/2013 72

Google street view:

Google street view As well as for personal use, useful for assessing location of a business (but remember out of date images) 29/10/2013 73

Looking for an expert on a topic?:

Looking for an expert on a topic? Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting for tips Academics use keywords with or with site:edu Presentations at conferences, lectures, seminars use keywords with filetype:ppt or with filetype:pptx use keywords with filetype:pdf Google Scholar 29/10/2013 74

Google Scholar :

Google Scholar “Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research”.   Search all scholarly literature from one convenient place Explore related works, citations, authors, and publications Locate the complete document through your library or on the web Keep up with recent developments in any area of research Check who's citing your publications, create a public author profile 29/10/2013 75

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar Does not cover all key journals in all subjects – no source list Top publications for subjects and languages under Metrics link on home page or Scholar indexes the full text but you may have to pay to view the whole article Groups different versions of an article together 29/10/2013 76

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar Includes open access material, pre-prints, institutional repositories (but not necessarily author self archived repositories) Includes material that is NOT peer reviewed but is structured and looks like an academic article (title in large font, authors, affiliations, abstract, keywords, citations) Pre-prints and IR copies may differ from final published version – charts and images may be redacted because of copyright restrictions 29/10/2013 77

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar Very good that Google Scholar covers Open Access journals, but Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have had to weed out 188 titles that were of poor quality. Even Hartmann Flood førstebibliotekar, UBiT, NTNU, Trondheim “ Google Scholar på godt og vondt” Foredrag på fagreferentkonferansen 7/6 2012 (in Norwegian so use Google translations) 29/10/2013 78

Google Scholar:

Google Scholar 29/10/2013 79 Does NOT use the publishers’ metadata Date and author search looks in the area of the document where those elements are usually found Page numbers, part of an address, data item may be mistaken for publication year Sometimes gets the author wrong

Communicating with postgraduate research students: some themes from the library literature :

Communicating with postgraduate research students: some themes from the library literature 29/10/2013 80

PowerPoint Presentation:

Jacsó, Péter. “Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar.”  Online Information Review  34.1 (2010): 175-191. Jacsó, Péter. Newswire Analysis: Google Scholar’s Ghost Authors, Lost Authors, and Other Problems Jacsó, Péter. “Google Scholar Author Citation Tracker: is it too little, too late? “ Online Information Review  36.1 (2012): 126-141. Jacsó, Péter. “Using Google Scholar for journal impact factors and the h-index in nationwide publishing assessments in academia–siren songs and air-raid sirens.”  Online Information Review  36.3 (2012): 462-478. Jacso – Savvy Searching Columns, Online Information Review   29/10/2013 81

PowerPoint Presentation:

Bad Google Scholar Results | Academic Librarian Gray, Jerry E., et al. Scholarish : Google Scholar and its Value to the Sciences. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. Summer 2012 Hamilton, Michelle C, Janz , Margaret M and Hauser, Alexandra. Can librarians trust resources found on Google Scholar? Yes… and no. Impact of Social Sciences: Maximizing the impact of academic research . 17 September 2012. Kramer, Bianca and Sieverts , Eric. Beyond coverage #ili2012. Slideshare. 27 October 2012. HLWIKI International. Google scholar bibliography. UBC HealthLib Wiki - A Knowledge-Base for Health Librarians. 29/10/2013 82

Google Scholar advanced search commands:

Google Scholar advanced search commands Use advanced search screen or commands as follows: + sign before a search term to force an exact match, for example + norne “....” around phrases for example “environmental remediation”   intitle : to search for a single word in the title, for example intitle:zeolites environmental remediation   allintitle : to search for all of your terms in the title, for example allintitle:zeolites environmental remediation   author: to search on an author’s name, for example zeolites environmental remediation author:rhodes   site: to limit your search to specific institution for example marcellus shale   Commands can be combined for a precise search, for example author:wolford allintitle:marcellus shale 29/10/2013 83


h-Index h-index developed in 2005 by Jorge Hirsch, University of California in San Diego Attempts to quantify productivity and apparent scientific impact of a scientist. “A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other ( Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each”. For example, an h-index of 20 means that the researcher has 20 papers each of which has been cited 20 or more times Calculated by Scopus, WoS , Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic Search (?) but only for those papers within the database 29/10/2013 84


g-Index g-index - distribution of citations received by a given researcher's publications Devised by Leo Egghe in 2006 “Given a set of articles ranked in decreasing order of the number of citations that they received, the g-index is the (unique) largest number such that the top g articles received (together) at least g 2  citations.” g-index - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 29/10/2013 85

Other indices:

Other indices i10 Index i10-index is the number of publications with at least 10 citations e-Index PLOS ONE: The e-Index, Complementing the h-Index for Excess Citations 29/10/2013 86

Google Scholar h-index:

Google Scholar h-index 29/10/2013 87 Author creates a profile and claims papers

Google Scholar h-index:

Google Scholar h-index 29/10/2013 88 ScholarHIndexCalculator - mWiki Add-on for Chrome (development of new features stopped for Firefox)

Google Scholar - Scholarometer :

Google Scholar - Scholarometer 29/10/2013 89 Scholarometer: Browser Extension and Web Service for Academic Impact Analysis Firefox and Chrome

Google Scholar - Scholarometer:

Google Scholar - Scholarometer 29/10/2013 90

Google Scholar – Publish or Perish:

Google Scholar – Publish or Perish 29/10/2013 91 Publish or Perish - Anne-Wil Harzing Desktop application : Or use the Books option in the menu on the left hand side of the screen. Includes magazines, journals, newspapers 29/10/2013 92

Create your own Google custom search engine:

Create your own Google custom search engine For regularly searched sites selected sites on a subject or type of organisation Cannot include password protected sources or sites where you have to fill in a form to access the information Information on setting up a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) http:// [TO BE UPDATED] Google's blog on custom search 29 October 2013 Karen Blakeman 93

Google’s free alerting services:

Google’s free alerting services Google email and RSS alerts are seriously broken do not alert you to everything that is new alerts sometimes ‘die’ often bring up old material that you’ve already seen duplicate information Email alerts becoming a rarity some web sites and blogs offer email subscription to new content – often use RSS to email conversion tools such as Feedburner (how long will that be around?) RSS feeds on news sites often all or nothing Need an RSS reader e.g. Netvibes, Feedly, FeedReader Phil Bradley's weblog: 20 Alternatives to Google Reader 29/10/2013 94

Keeping up to date:

Keeping up to date Inside Search Official Google Blog Google Scholar Blog SearchReSearch : Search Engine Land Search Engine Watch Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Karen Blakeman’s Blog Phil Bradley's weblog 29/10/2013 95

PowerPoint Presentation:

Remember that Google is continually changing Personalisation is a key element of Google’s algorithms Explore and make use of the options in the menus on your results pages Get to know the advanced search commands If you want to keep Google in check keep up with changes and new developments at Google.... 29/10/2013 96

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