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How to navigate the world's largest search engine

How to navigate the world's largest search engine

Content created by Jason Coleman, Kansas State University Libraries

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Google and Google Scholar Google and Google Scholar Presentation Transcript

  • How to navigate the largest search engine in the world Tuesday, February 15, 2011
  • How Google Works
    • Indexing
      • Google Bots (aka spiders) go to a page and create a list of all the words on the page, in the page’s title, in the alt-text of it’s pictures, and in all the links leading to that page.
      • The Bots follow the links on the pages and index everything they find on the pages and files they come to.
      • The Bots can’t do anything but click and index.
      • Most of the information on the Web is invisible to Google.
        • e.g., The information in K-State Libraries’ catalog and databases
  • How Google Works
    • Searching
      • By default, Google finds all the webpages and files in its index that have all the words and phrases you typed.
        • Note: you are not doing a live search of the entire Web!
      • Google has no idea what the words you type mean. It is extremely literal.
        • e.g., if you search for children, Google wouldn’t show a page that used the word kids in place of children.
      • Google automatically searches for plural forms of some nouns.
  • How Google Works
    • Searching Syntax
      • Google is not case sensitive.
      • Quotation marks tell Google to only show pages that have that exact phrase.
        • e.g., “help desk” rather than help AND desk
      • Google treats punctuation marks as spaces unless they are inside quotation marks.
      • Use the hyphenated form of a word whenever in doubt.
        • e.g., ex-officio matches ex-officio, ex officio and exofficio
  • How Google Works
    • Ranking of results
      • Google’s fame and wealth comes from the algorithm it uses to order the results.
      • Factors that influence the order include:
        • Where the words occur in the page (in the title ranks highly)
        • The order the search terms appear on the page
        • How many pages link to the page and how popular they are
    • Picture the pages and files you hope to find.
    • Ask yourself what words and phrases you’d see on those pages. Think of several alternatives
    • Construct a search that will search for all those alternatives at once.
    • If your results set is too large, limit it by filetype, domain, language, words in the title, and/or words in the url.
    General Strategy
    • Example: suppose you want to know what Kirk Schulz’ birthday is.
        • Rather than type when is Kirk Schulz’ birthday?
        • Type “kirk schulz” born
    General Strategy
    • Broadening searches with OR
      • Typing OR between two words/phrases tells Google to show pages that have either or both words/phrases
        • e.g., advice OR tips
        • e.g., advice OR “helpful suggestions”
        • e.g., “Barack Obama” OR “Barack Hussein Obama”
      • You can use a string of ORs
        • e.g., advice OR tips OR help OR suggestions
    Using OR and ~ to Broaden Searches
      • What will happen with the following search?:
        • dissertation advice OR tips OR help OR suggestions
      • How about this one?:
        • Dissertation OR thesis OR theses advice OR tips OR help OR suggestions
      • This is by far the most important strategy for improving searches
    Using OR and ~ to Broaden Searches
  • Limiting Searches
    • Title searching
      • type intitle: before a term/phrase to tell Google to only show pages and files that have that term/phrase in its title.
        • e.g. intitle:antarctica
        • e.g. intitle:antarctica intitle:ecology
        • e.g. intitle:antarctica intitle:ecology OR intitle:ecological
  • Limiting Searches
    • Domain searching
      • type site: and then the domain (e.g., edu, gov, com, org) to limit results to pages and files from that domain of the Web.
        • e.g. bird flu kansas site:edu
      • For a list of domains, see: http://www.iana.org/gtld/gtld.htm
      • You can also use site: to specify specific servers.
        • e.g., site:www.k-state.edu
        • e.g., site:courses.k-state.edu
        • e.g., site:k-state.edu
  • Limiting Searches
    • Limiting by File Type
      • type filetype: and then the type of file (e.g., doc, pdf, ppt, xls) to limit the results to that type of file
        • e.g. caucus system filetype:ppt
        • e.g. “global warming” filetype:ppt OR filetype:pdf
  • Limiting Searches
    • Excluding results
      • type a minus sign in front of a term or phrase to exclude all pages and files with that term or phrase and then the type of file (e.g., doc, pdf, ppt, xls) to limit the results to that type of file
        • e.g. apple -computer
        • e.g. apple -computer -fiona -paltrow -site:com
  • Limiting Searches
    • You can use more than one type of limit at the same time
      • e.g., intitle:cancer site:edu filetype:ppt
    • You can add terms without limits and throw in ORs and minus signs too.
      • e.g., intitle:cancer OR intitle:neoplasm detect OR detecting infant OR toddler site:gov OR site:edu -ovarian
  • Where to Learn More About Google
    • Nancy Blachman’s “ Google Guide ”
    • Google’s Help Center
    • The Official Google Blog
  • Google Scholar
    • http://scholar.google.com
    • What is it?
        • Multi-subject full-text index of conference proceedings, books, theses, and articles
    • Where does Google Scholar get it’s information?
        • Some of it comes from open-web sources
        • Most comes from information submitted by publishers
        • Google does not reveal exactly which sources they index.
  • Google Scholar
    • How are the results ranked?
    • Complex algorithm that takes several factors into account:
        • Where the matches occur in the document
        • Word order and proximity
        • Number of matches within the document
        • Number of times the document was cited
        • Quality of the source
  • Google Scholar
    • Searching Tips
    • The searching mechanism is essentially identical to Google’s
    • Use quotes and OR and try to match actual words you expect to find in article titles.
  • Google Scholar
    • Limiting Searches
    • Intitle:
        • Searches within the title of the document’s source, not necessarily the title of document
    • Author:
        • Searches authors of the document’s source, not necessarily authors of the document.
  • Google Scholar
    • Limiting Searches
    • Use the Advanced Search Screen to limit to:
        • A specific year or range of years
        • A specific publication or set of publications
        • A broad subject area
  • Google Scholar
    • Finding Fulltext
    • Google includes some links to free full text repositories
  • Google Scholar
    • Finding Fulltext
    • Activate K-State Libraries’ GET IT button by clicking on:
  • Google Scholar
    • Finding Fulltext
    • And then typing Kansas State University in the library links section
  • Google Scholar
    • Finding Fulltext
    • When you click Find Library, but a check mark in both boxes and click the Save Preferences button (not shown)
  • Google Scholar
    • Finding Fulltext
    • After setting the preferences, you will have GET IT links and/or buttons
  • Where to Learn More About Google Scholar
    • Nancy Blachman’s “ Google Guide ”
    • Mayr, P., & Walter, A. (2007). An exploratory study of Google Scholar: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.3575v1
    • Tutorial from Capella University: http://tinyurl.com/capellascholar
  • How to Get Help
    • Ask a librarian :
  • Using Google as a Calculator
    • Simply type simple mathematical expressions and Google will perform the calculation:
    • e.g., 7 * 2 +4
    • e.g., sqrt 78
  • Using Google as a Dictionary
    • Simply type define then “:” and then a term or phrase and Google will search several online dictionaries:
    • e.g., define:genial
    • e.g., define:”space cadet”
  • Using Google as a Phone Directory
    • Dial 1-800-GOOG-411
    • Say the name of business or a category
    • State the city and State
    • Google then gives names and locations of the top several results from it’s business directory results, e.g., pizza manhattan kansas
  • Using Google as a Weather Station
    • Type weather (zip code) to get the current temp and conditions and a 3 day forecast:
    • e.g., Weather 66502
  • Using Google as an Almanac
    • Type in simple fact look-ups, such as the following:
    • Population ecuador
    • Capital mozambique
    • President poland
    • Birthday bill clinton
  • Links
    • Acronym Finder: http://www.acronymfinder.com/
    • An Exploratory Study of Google Scholar http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.3575v1
    • Google http://www.google.com
    • Google’s Help Center: http://www.google.com/support
    • Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com
    • Google Scholar Tutorial from Capella Univ. http://tinyurl.com/capellascholar
    • K-State Libraries’ Ask A Librarian service: http://www.lib.k-state.edu/reference/vref/
    • K-State Libraries’ Catalog https://catalog.lib.ksu.edu/
    • K-State Libraries’ Databases http://www.lib.k-state.edu/db/
    • K-State Libraries’ Subject Librarians
    • http://www.lib.k-state.edu/services/subjectspecialists.html
    • List of Web Domains http://www.iana.org/gtld/gtld.htm
    • Nancy Blachman’s Google Guide: http://www.googleguide.com/
    • Official Google Blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/