Guide for Freshmen

Digging out the Buried: How to Google Academic Materials
By Kee-Man Chuah Centre for Language Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. kmchuah@cls.unimas.my

Preamble
The proliferation of Internet has enabled greater access to various resources on the World Wide Web. Students and academics rely heavily on the Web to obtain up-to-date information and materials for their research and scholarly work. Unfortunately, the numbers of materials online are overwhelmingly huge that one would be easily lost. However, thanks to Google, most of the searching activities can be simplified and enhanced. In this brief article, five tips on how to use Google to search for academic materials are provided.

The 5 Tips
1. Localize Your Search Many Google users are not aware that the search engine usually redirects their main domain google.com to a localized domain depending on their IPs. For example, if you are in Malaysia, even if you typed “google.com” in the address bar, it will be redirected to “google.com.my” automatically. Hence, if you would like to focus on contents from a specific country (e.g. Malaysia), then search using the localized domain instead. This will provide results specific to the region. 2. Use Quotation Marks for Specific Search When searching for a specific word or phrase, it is best to use the quotation marks. Using “Keyword” would tell Google to list only pages that contain the word. For instance, if you would like to search for “green energy in Malaysia” using the quotation marks will avoid Google from searching “green”, “energy” and “Malaysia” separately. You can see different sets of results with and without the quotation marks as shown below:

Guide for Freshmen

3. Use Filetype to Look for Files This is very useful when you are aiming at a specific file format such as .doc, .pptx or .pdf. All you need to do is to put the keyword together with the filetype command (e.g. Green technology filetype:pdf). Google will list all the related files with the keywords. This method is particularly crucial when you are searching for journal articles which sometimes cannot be downloaded from the original source. Using this search, helps you to find files easier.

4. Optimise Search with Inurl and Intitle Commands Google also provides a good way to narrow down your search via “Inurl” and “intitle” command. Use “inurl” if you would like Google to search for a keyword in the URL or web address (e.g. inurl Taipei). On the other hand, use “intitle” if you want Google to search for a keyword in the title of the webpages (e.g. intitle Malaysia).

5. Search This OR That By default, Google includes all the terms specified in the search box (you do not have to use AND). However, if you are looking for any one of the terms to match, then you may use the OR command. (Note: Please ensure that the OR is capitalised). Most of the commands or operators can be used in Google Scholar and Google Books too. Google has not only made life easier but at the same time allows better search for academic materials. Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com) provides a huge directory of academic materials and you can also try journal databases like Emerald Insights (http://emeraldinsight.com) and Springerlink (http://springerlink.com).

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