Make Google behave: techniques for better results


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Slides for the workshop organised by UKeiG and held on 30th April 2013 in Manchester, UK

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  • 01/05/13 (c) Karen Blakeman 2013
  • 01/05/13 (c) Karen Blakeman 2012
  • 01/05/13 (c) Karen Blakeman 2012
  • Make Google behave: techniques for better results

    1. 1. 01/05/13 1Make Google Behave: techniquesfor better resultsTuesday, 30thApril 2013ManchesterThis presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 LicenseKaren Blakeman, RBA Information, will be available on and Also available temporarily at
    2. 2. Fact sheetsThe fact sheets are available at Strategies - Top Search Tips– Strategies - Selected Google Commands– Strategies - Google Search Tips– Strategies - Search Tools Summary and Comparison– 2
    3. 3. Why do we use Google?Often gives good enoughresults with minimal effort fromthe searcherGreat coveragePersonalisationProblems?Google thinks it knows bestwhen it comes to the searchstrategyToo much informationPersonalisation01/05/13 3
    4. 4. Five things you need to know about Google1. Google personalises your searchPersonalises 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 givenpriority– what you and others have ‘liked’, g+101/05/13 4
    5. 5. Five things you need to know about Google1. Google personalises your search01/05/13 5Non-personalised search Personalised search
    6. 6. “Un-personalise” your searchChrome - New Incognito windowFireFox - Tools, Start Private BrowsingInternet Explorer – Tools, InPrivate BrowsingSwitch off web/search historyLog out of your Google accountClear cookies01/05/13 6
    7. 7. 01/05/13 7
    8. 8. Five things you need to know about Google2. Google automatically looks for variations on your termsand omits terms01/05/13 8
    9. 9. Five things you need to know about Google2. Google automatically looks for variations on your termsand omits termsTo force an exact match and inclusion of a term in a search prefixit with ‘intext:’UK public transport intext:biodiesel statistics“..” around terms does not always workVerbatim – runs your search exactly as you have typed it inGoogle Scholar does not drop termsGoogle Scholar – can still use ‘+’ before a term to force an exactmatch01/05/13 9
    10. 10. Google VerbatimRun your searchOn the results page select Search tools, All results, Verbatim01/05/13 10
    11. 11. Five things you need to know about Google3. Google web search does not search everythingTwo indexes: main, default index and the supplemental indexSupplemental index may contain less popular, unusual,specialist materialSupplemental index comes into play when Google thinks yoursearch has returned too few resultsUsing advanced search commands and Verbatim seems totrigger a search in the supplemental index01/05/13 11
    12. 12. 01/05/13 12“Normal search”1,555,500Search after Verbatim is applied35,500,000
    13. 13. Five things you need to know about Google4. Google changes its algorithms several hundred times ayearSome changes are minor and barely noticeable, others are moresignificant e.g. dropping search termsHow Google makes improvements to its search algorithm -YouTube 13
    14. 14. Five things you need to know about Google5. We are all Google’s lab ratsGoogle constantly tests changes on users in “live experiments”Just Testing: Google Users May See Up To A Dozen Experiments : minor effects on search but sometimes totally bizarre results– Google decides that coots are really lions– Update on coots vs. lions 14
    15. 15. What does Google know about youSign in to your Google account and go to your ad preferences at 15
    16. 16. Google tries to work out your locationCountry based on your IP addressTown/city based on your IP address/network provider– Google can get this wrong– Google switches between Bristol and Exeter for my location (I’min Reading)– Can tell Google your location in Search settings (hidden underthe cog wheel in the upper right hand area of your results page)01/05/13 16
    17. 17. Google InstantTries to predict what you are searching for as you type and displaysresults as you type01/05/13 17
    18. 18. Google InstantOnly displays 10 results at a timeDisable Google Instant in Search Settings under the cog wheel(upper right hand area of a Google results screen) or go to 18
    19. 19. Country versions of Google and local informationCountry versions of Google give priority to local contentUseful if you are researching a person, company, or sector inanother countryGo to the relevant country version of Google, for,, International Domains - List of Country and LanguageCodes– search using ‘Translated foreign pages’ (see later)01/05/13 19
    20. 20. 20
    21. 21. 21
    22. 22. 22
    23. 23. Google Knowledge Graph and carousel01/05/13 23
    24. 24. Google carousel01/05/13 24
    25. 25. New layout?01/05/13 254-6 entries at the top of thepage that supposedly matchyour search (but may not)Related searches underneathwith terms left out
    26. 26. New layout?01/05/13 26Second page of results a bit betterMay need to use Verbatim toget best results
    27. 27. Yet more changes!Results page preview with cached copy and similar pages hasgoneInstead we now have .....01/05/13 27
    28. 28. Google goes mobile01/05/13 28
    29. 29. Google+ accounts and business pagesFollow people/pages and add to circlesDo not need permission to follow and add people to your circlesShare postings and information with selected circles or maketotally publicCommunities – “owned” and moderated by an individual orbusinessGoogle web search starting to emphasise Google+ pages inresultsGoogle places/local now part of Google+01/05/13 29
    30. 30. Google = Google+ ?01/05/13 30All roads lead toGoogle+ ?
    31. 31. Recent Google special experiment
    32. 32. Can you share the informationyou find?01/05/13 32PR I V A T EL i m i t edSel ec t ed c i r c l es
    33. 33. 01/05/13 33
    34. 34. What I see on my screen will not be whatyou see on your screen, will not be whatyour colleagues see on theirs, will not bewhat your users see.Google Scholar more consistent?01/05/13 34
    35. 35. Googles new Privacy Policy01/05/13 35"Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’resigned in, we may combine information you’veprovided from one service with information from otherservices. In short, we’ll treat you as a single useracross all our products, which will mean a simpler,more intuitive Google experience."Toward a simpler, more beautiful Google"were more excited than ever to build a seamlesssocial experience, all across Google"
    36. 36. Choosing your search termsGoogle automatically looks for synonyms and variations on yourterms– biofuels will find biodiesel, biogas, bio-ethanol etc.– but do not get the same results if you use biodiesel instead ofbiofuels– run separate searches using alternative terms– no information on how the synonyms are identified orimplementedThe terms you use can radically change results– copper mining north wales vs. copper extraction north wales– organ donation vs human transplantation01/05/13 36
    37. 37. Changing your search terms01/05/13 37
    38. 38. Changing your search terms01/05/13 38
    39. 39. Two interesting tricksBoth of these often change the results and the order in whichthey are presentedRepeat important search terms in your search strategyrenewable energy biofuels wave wind wind windChange the order of your termsrenewable energy biofuels wave windwind renewable wave biofuels energy01/05/13 39
    40. 40. Google Trends 40Compare how often search terms are used over time and by location
    41. 41. Google commands" " around phrases"Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar"- to exclude a term Caversham –otago* to stand in for one or more wordssolar * panelsPicks up solar PV panels, solar photovoltaic panels,solar water heating panels01/05/13 41
    42. 42. SynonymsGoogle automatically looks for variations of your termsSwitch it off using Verbatim but may want synonyms and relatedterms for just one of your termsUse the tilde ~ before a term to look for what Google considersare synonyms– ~energy will pick up oil, fuel, gas, electricityNo information/documentation on how synonyms are createdVery general, consumer focussed rather than scientific01/05/13 42
    43. 43. Google commandsThink file format– PDF for research documents, government reports, industrypapers– ppt or pptx for presentations, tracking down an expert on a topic– xls or xlsx for spreadsheets containing dataUse the advanced search screen or the filetype: commandzeolites environmental remediation filetype:pdfnasa dark energy dark matter filetype:pptnasa dark energy dark matter filetype:pptxannual average global temperature 1960..2012filetype:xlsannual average global temperature 1960..2012filetype:xlsx01/05/13 43
    44. 44. Google commandsSite searchFor searching large websites, or groups of sites by type forexample government, NHS, academicCan exclude sites using -site:Use advanced search screen or site: commandorgan donation statistics Wales site:nhs.ukorgan donation statistics Wales site:ac.ukorgan donation statistics donation statistics Wales -site:au01/05/13 44
    45. 45. Google commandsNumeric range searchAnything to do with numbers and quantities: years,temperatures, weights, distances, prices etcUse the advanced search screen or type in your two numbersseparated by two full stops as part of your searchworld oil demand forecasts 2015..2030world oil demand forecasts 80..100 mb/d2015..2030toblerone 1..5 kg01/05/13 45
    46. 46. Google commandsWords in the title – can be single words or phrasesEnsures subject is the main focus of the articleUse advanced search screen or intitle:intitle:”diabetic retinopathy”Words in the URL – can be single words or phrasesUse advanced search screen or inurl:inurl:”diabetic retinopathy”01/05/13 46
    47. 47. Google Reading levelChanges the type of material that is returnedNothing to do with publishers assigned reading ageRun the search and from the menu above the results selectSearch tools, All results, Reading level01/05/13 47
    48. 48. Google Reading level01/05/13 48Basic Advanced
    49. 49. Translated foreign pagesFor information on an industry, government policies, businesspractices in other countriesFor a different perspective on a topic01/05/13 49
    50. 50. Translated foreign pages01/05/13 50If your preferred language isnot in the list click on ‘Addlanguage’ and select from thelist. Then click on the numberof results to the right thelanguage you want to use.Google translates your search intothe selected language, runs thesearch and translates the resultsinto your own language.Warning: machine translation!
    51. 51. Exclusive to – recipes!01/05/13 51
    52. 52. DateRestrict your results to information that has been publishedwithin the last hour, day, week, month, year or your own daterangeSearch tools, Any time and select an option01/05/13 52
    53. 53. daterange:Date restriction does not work with the ‘All results’ optionsVerbatim and Translated Foreign PagesUse daterange: command insteadUses Julian date format (fractions omitted)Julian Date Converter– for example pages mentioning Cameron and housing benefitsbetween June 20thand June 26th2012daterange:2456098-2456104 housing benefitsCameron01/05/13 53
    54. 54. daterange: the easy wayThird party tools for the daterange: search, for example then applysearch options to results01/05/13 54
    55. 55. Google can seriously damage your newsExperiment by Mary Ellen BatesIs Google really filtering my news? - Librarian of Fortune– can seriously damage your news–– More than a quarter of the stories showed up in only onesearcher’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 sameorder01/05/13 55
    56. 56. Google News 56Can personalise news contentwhen signed in to a Googleaccount.Hidden underneath the cog wheelon the news home page.Change your location(automatically identified byGoogle), topics covered, sourcesand frequency of articles fromsources.
    57. 57. Google News01/05/13 57Can limit results to atime period.Time options don’talways work in the‘Archives’Older material may bepricedCan create email and RSS alertsfor a search but unreliable
    58. 58. Google News – advanced search01/05/13 58Hidden under thearrow in the searchbox
    59. 59. Blogs01/05/13 59Run search and thenclick on More, followedby BlogsOnce blog results are displayedcan click on Search tools, Anytime and select a time period
    60. 60. Discussion boards and forums01/05/13 60Click on More, DiscussionsNo indication of how discussions and forums are identified
    61. 61. Google Videos01/05/13 61Not the same as YouTubeGoogle VideoYouTube
    62. 62. Google VideosRun search, then select More, Videos01/05/13 62
    63. 63. Google Videos01/05/13 63Limit your search by duration, time, quality, source
    64. 64. Google Finance - 64
    65. 65. Google finance historical share prices01/05/13 65Can only display and download one year at a time
    66. 66. Images - copyrightAlways, always check and double check the copyright - imagesmay have a digital watermark and be tracked e.g. DigimarcCreative Commons does not mean you can do what you like withan image– six licences“Open-licencing your images. What it means and how to do it.”Andy Mabbett aka pigsonthewing– Blakemans Blog “Free-to-use images might not be”– 66
    67. 67. Google images – “free to use....”Google advanced image search - use the usage rights, butalways double check the licence on the web siteLicence may be assigned to another image on the page ratherthan the ne you want to use01/05/13 67
    68. 68. Images01/05/13 68
    69. 69. Images – more sizes01/05/13 69
    70. 70. Images - colour01/05/13 70
    71. 71. 01/05/13 71Images – not always what you expectSearch for patent and select the colour red (Thanks to Arthur Weissfor the example)
    72. 72. Images – use an existing image01/05/13 72Click on the camera iconin the search box and theneither enter the URL of animage or upload the image
    73. 73. Who is the artist?01/05/13 73Photo taken in the courtyard ofMuseum Kampa, Prague,Czech RepublicGoogle web search, image search and Flickr search only told usthat it was called the Red Rider or the Red Horseman
    74. 74. Who is the artist?01/05/13 741. Ran a standard web search on red horseman statue czech2. On the results page selected “Translated foreign pages” fromSearch options, All resultsNote: Easiest and quickest way toidentify the artist would have been tocontact the museum via their website!
    75. 75. Google Art Project 75
    76. 76. Google Public Data Explorer of Googles best kept secrets!01/05/13 76
    77. 77. Google Public Data Explorer01/05/13 77
    78. 78. Google MapsPost code areas, locations,directionsPublic transport for some countriesCycle routes for some areasTowpaths in conjunction with Canaland River Trust +Estimated fuel costsSatellite, Street View, photos,weather, videosOnly as good as the underlying data– double check location01/05/13 78
    79. 79. Google street viewAs well as for personal use, useful for assessing location of abusiness (but remember out of date images)01/05/13 79
    80. 80. Google Places01/05/13 80Run search and thenselect More, Places
    81. 81. Looking for an expert on a topic?Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting for tips–– use keywords with or with site:eduPresentations at conferences, lectures, seminars– use keywords with filetype:ppt or with filetype:pptx– use keywords with filetype:pdfGoogle Scholar– 81
    82. 82. Google Scholar“Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarlyliterature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines andsources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, fromacademic publishers, professional societies, online repositories,universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you findrelevant 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 whos citing your publications, create a public author profile01/05/13 82
    83. 83. Google ScholarDoes not cover all key journals in all subjects – no source listTop publications for subjects and languages under Metrics linkon home page or indexes the full text but you may have to pay to view thewhole articleGroups different versions of an article together01/05/13 83
    84. 84. Google ScholarIncludes open access material, pre-prints, institutionalrepositories (but not necessarily author self archivedrepositories)Includes material that is NOT peer reviewed but is structuredand looks like an academic article (title in large font, authors,affiliations, abstract, keywords, citations)Pre-prints and IR copies may differ from final publishedversion – charts and images may be redacted because ofcopyright restrictions01/05/13 84
    85. 85. Google ScholarVery good that Google Scholar covers Open Accessjournals, but Norwegian University of Science andTechnology (NTNU) have had to weed out 188 titles thatwere of poor quality.Even Hartmann Flood førstebibliotekar, UBiT, NTNU,Trondheim“Google Scholar på godt og vondt” Foredrag påfagreferentkonferansen 7/6 2012 (in Norwegianso use Google translations)01/05/13 85
    86. 86. Google Scholar01/05/13 86Does NOT use the publishers’ metadataDate and author search looks in the area of the document wherethose elements are usually foundPage numbers, part of an address, data item may be mistakenfor publication yearSometimes gets the author wrong
    87. 87. Communicating with postgraduate research students: somethemes from the library literature 87
    88. 88. Jacsó, Péter. “Metadata mega mess in Google Scholar.” Online InformationReview 34.1 (2010): 175-191.Jacsó, Péter. Newswire Analysis: Google Scholar’s Ghost Authors, LostAuthors, and Other Problemsó, 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-indexin nationwide publishing assessments in academia–siren songs and air-raidsirens.” Online Information Review 36.3 (2012): 462-478.Jacso – Savvy Searching Columns, Online Information Review 88
    89. 89. Bad Google Scholar Results | Academic Librarian, Jerry E., et al. Scholarish: Google Scholar and its Value to the Sciences.Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. Summer 2012, Michelle C, Janz, Margaret M and Hauser, Alexandra. Can librarians trustresources found on Google Scholar? Yes… and no. Impact of Social Sciences:Maximizing the impact of academic research .17 September 2012., Bianca and Sieverts, Eric. Beyond coverage #ili2012. Slideshare. 27October 2012. International. Google scholar bibliography. UBC HealthLib Wiki - AKnowledge-Base for Health Librarians. 89
    90. 90. Google Scholar advanced search commandsUse 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:zeolitesenvironmental remediationallintitle: to search for all of your terms in the title, for exampleallintitle:zeolites environmental remediationauthor: to search on an author’s name, for examplezeolites environmental remediation author:rhodessite: to limit your search to specific institution for examplemarcellus shale site:psu.eduCommands can be combined for a precise search, for exampleauthor:wolford allintitle:marcellus shale01/05/13 90
    91. 91. h-Indexh-index developed in 2005 by Jorge Hirsch, University of California inSan DiegoAttempts to quantify productivity and apparent scientific impact of ascientist.“A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least hcitations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than hcitations each”.For example, an h-index of 20 means that the researcher has 20papers each of which has been cited 20 or more timesCalculated by Scopus, WoS, Google Scholar, Microsoft AcademicSearch (?) but only for those papers within the database01/05/13 91
    92. 92. g-Indexg-index - distribution of citations received by a givenresearchers publicationsDevised by Leo Egghe in 2006“Given a set of articles ranked in decreasing order of thenumber of citations that they received, the g-index is the(unique) largest number such that the top g articles received(together) at least g2citations.”g-index - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 92
    93. 93. Other indicesi10 Indexi10-index is the number of publications with at least 10 citationse-IndexPLOS ONE: The e-Index, Complementing the h-Index forExcess Citations 93
    94. 94. Google Scholar h-index01/05/13 94Author creates a profile and claims papers
    95. 95. Google Scholar h-index01/05/13 95ScholarHIndexCalculator - mWiki for Chrome (development of new features stoppedfor Firefox)
    96. 96. Google Scholar - Scholarometer01/05/13 96Scholarometer: Browser Extension and Web Service forAcademic Impact Analysis and Chrome
    97. 97. Google Scholar - Scholarometer01/05/13 97
    98. 98. Google Scholar – Publish or Perish01/05/13 98Publish or Perish - Anne-Wil Harzing application
    99. 99. use the Books option in the menu on the left hand side of thescreen. Includes magazines, journals, newspapers01/05/13 99
    100. 100. Create your own Google custom search engine– regularly searched sites– selected sites on a subject or type of organisationCannot include password protected sources or sites whereyou have to fill in a form to access the informationInformation on setting up a Google Custom Search Engine(CSE) [TO BEUPDATED]Googles blog on custom search May 2013 Karen Blakeman 100
    101. 101. Google’s free alerting servicesGoogle 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 informationEmail alerts becoming a rarity– some web sites and blogs offer email subscription to newcontent – often use RSS to email conversion tools such asFeedburner (how long will that be around?)RSS feeds on news sites often all or nothingNeed an RSS reader e.g. Netvibes, Feedly, FeedReader– Phil Bradleys weblog: 20 Alternatives to Google Reader– 101
    102. 102. Keeping up to dateInside Search Google Blog Scholar Blog : Engine Land Engine Watch Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Blakeman’s Blog Bradleys weblog 102
    103. 103. 1. Remember that Google is continually changing2. Personalisation is a key element of Google’salgorithms3. Explore and make use of the options in the menus onyour results pages4. Get to know the advanced search commands5. If you want to keep Google in check keep up withchanges and new developments at Google....01/05/13 103