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Deep Web Pre-course Homework: Advanced Search Commands


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Those attending my deep web workshops are asked to go through the slides on advanced search commands before the event. There may be some commands delegates do not know or have forgotten, or it can serve as a reminder to those who have already come across the option. This is so that we do not spend too much time on the day covering the surface web.

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Deep Web Pre-course Homework: Advanced Search Commands

  1. 1. Advanced search commands and options Karen Blakeman
  2. 2. Please work through these slides before the workshop. A lot of “hard to find” information is not really deep web but can be surfaced by using one or more advanced search commands. You may know much of it already, in which case just skim through them as a reminder. We shall not be covering these in detail on the day as there are so many other areas of genuine Deep Web searching that need to be covered. If you have any questions or would like further clarification of any of the commands please do get in touch with me at
  3. 3. Choosing your search terms Google and Bing automatically look for synonyms and variations Google Begins Using Neural Matching to Understand Synonyms, Impacting 30% of Queries matching-to-understand-synonyms-impacting-30-of-queries/271035/ Use individual synonyms and variations in separate searches and you may see very different results For example: – steam engine – steam train – steam locomotive – steam locomotives 09/04/2019 3
  4. 4. Choosing your search terms Use more technical terms or ones that are subject/industry specific for research oriented searches rather than consumer/news articles For example: – fracking gas production uk – “hydraulic fracturing” gas production uk Repeating a term may alter your results Changing the order of your terms may alter your results 09/04/2019 4
  5. 5. Google drops terms from your search Google sometimes tells you which terms it has ignored and offers options for including one that has been dropped See Google offers to include missing search terms – sometimes missing-terms/ For example, a search on broad beans eleonora tamar organics 09/04/2019 5
  6. 6. Google Verbatim Run your search then click on Tools, All results and select Verbatim Or add &tbs=li:1 to the URL of your search
  7. 7. Bing – missing terms, variations, synonyms Bing does NOT tell you if it has left out search terms Use quotation marks around terms or phrases (but may be ignored) Prefix essential terms with a plus sign (+) broad beans +eleonora +"tamar organics" Prefix essential terms with inbody: broad beans inbody:eleonora "tamar organics" 09/04/2019 7
  8. 8. Google commands GOOGLE DOES NOT DO BOOLEAN!!! (chocolate OR confectionery OR candy) AND (production OR manufacture) AND (belgium OR switzerland) NOT austria Google will do an OR (sort of) but parentheses are ignored, NOT and AND are treated as search terms Google limits query length to 32 terms
  9. 9. Google commands minus sign (-) to exclude a term Caversham –otago OR to specify alternatives hematology OR haematology (sometimes better to run separate searches) 09/04/2019 9
  10. 10. Google commands asterisk * to stand in for one or more words [note: starting to get odd results with this – may be on the way out?] solar * panels picks up solar PV panels, solar photovoltaic panels, solar water heating panels Can also be used as a mask in a URL/domain name when site: searching. For example to find UK academic sites with law in the domain name: site:law.* To search all twitter lists on a subject: cyber security*/lists 09/04/2019 10
  11. 11. Think file format - works in most general search engines filetype:pdf for research papers, conference presentations, industry reports, government reports pollinator decline filetype:pdf filetype:ppt, filetype:pptx for presentations – have to specify both in Google. pollinator decline filetype:pptx OR filetype:ppt Bing, Yandex, DDG automatically pick up both filetype:xls, filetype:xlsx, filetype:csv for data pollinator decline filetype:xlsx OR filetype:xls 09/04/2019 11
  12. 12. Presentations For an overview of a topic, expert opinion, project news, company briefings, government briefings, conference papers filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx Slideshare - – owned by LinkedIn which in turn is owned by Microsoft and now includes documents and videos – use the search option within Slideshare – use the Google or Bing site: search plus keywords – pollinator decline
  13. 13. site: command – works in most general search engines site: to search inside an individual site or types of sites pollinator decline pollinator decline pollinator decline Combine with filetype: pollinator decline filetype:pdf 09/04/2019 13
  14. 14. intitle: and inurl: commands intitle: for terms/phrases you want in the title of the page and to be the main focus of the article intitle:“carbon emissions” allintitle:carbon emissions inurl: for terms you want in the URL Many applications - see “In Praise of inurl:” When site: may not work because of the differing structure of country domains “carbon emissions” inurl:gov “carbon emissions” inurl:gov -site:gov – 09/04/2019 14
  15. 15. Google numeric range search Anything to do with numbers – years, prices, weights, scientific measurements Syntax: search terms first number..second number units [units are optional] For example: electric car production forecasts 2020..2050 09/04/2019 15
  16. 16. Date in Google (cannot be used with Verbatim) Restrict your results to information that has been published within the last hour, day, week, month, year or your own date range (Note: Custom range not available for mobile users) Tools, Any time and select an option 09/04/2019 16