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Informal Urbanism

Tricks for Web Searching

Here are some tricks to use Google more efficiently to search for information on your topic.

1. Use Google Books to search the full text of millions of books. This can help you find a name or phrase that might be "hidden" in a chapter.  This is particularly helpful when there aren't full books written about your topic.

2. When searching Google, limit your search to certain kinds of websites by adding the following to your search:

  • site:.gov (to search US government websites. Try figuring out the appropriate domain for other countries, too!)
  • site:.org (to search nonprofits)
  • site:.edu (to search sites hosted at educational institutions)

3. Try limiting your Google search to show only certain types of documents.  For example, adding "filetype:pdf" to your search will only return results that are PDF documents-- this tends to show you more reports, publications, and "formal" writing than you might find by doing a broader search.