Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advanced Search Options

Beyond Basics

Often when I’m asked, “How did you find that?” it’s because I went straight for the Advanced Search option.  These types of searches are available everywhere from online databases to Twitter.  Using Advanced Search options can save you a great deal of time and frustration.

Google’s advanced search lets you include or exclude terms without ever having to use that scary word, Boolean.  Mention Boolean searching to students or staff and you’ll often get a ‘can’t spell it, can’t pronounce it, ergo it must be difficult’ kind of reaction.

Twitter Search
Using the Advanced Search options allows you to search for specific words or phrases, to search for tweets from or to a specific person.  You can narrow your search to specific places, dates and even by attitude: positive or negative. 

Flickr’s Advanced Search is the first place I head for finding Creative Commons licenced images.  I know there are other ways to do this in Flickr but I prefer the results I get from using the Advanced Search option. 

Using Advanced Options in YouTube let’s you filter out videos that may not be suitable for minors, include/exclude terms, search by type or show only results that have annotations or closed captions.  You can search within categories, by language and date, or by duration: short, medium or long. I was able to filter out all the cartoons videos in a search for a short clip to introduce a class to the topic of bears.  The results returned were from FirstScience TV, National Geographic and BBC Worldwide.

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