Click to read “Twenty Tips to Use Google Search Efficiently”:

Here is a summary of Boolean Logic (from

Boolean logic is a mathematical way of combining sets. Boolean operators include and or +,or, and not or - .

In the results from a two word search:
  • and means both words must appear
  • or means that either word may appear
  • not means that the second word must not appear

In a variation developed for the web, placing a + or - at the beginning of a word means:
  • + the word is required to appear
  • - the word must not appear (same effect as not)

Find out which Boolean operator is used as the default before entering your search.

Truncation and Wildcards
  • Truncation makes it possible to search a root word (ex. feminis*).
  • A wild card replaces a single letter (ex. wom?n).

Phrase Searching
Phrase searching makes it possible to search a sequence of words (ex. "capital punishment").

Proximity Searching
Proximity searching makes it possible to search for words that are close together (ex . john near kennedy)

Field Searching
Field searching limits a search to words within the same defined portion of a record (ex. image:mermaid).
(Info. on Boolean logic is from: http:/

Here is an example of how one search is much more efficient, using these tips.

(Example is from Upper Canada College's website.)

  • consider the source, try limiting to .gov, or .edu (government or educational institution)
  • limit to the language you can read to reduce the number of hits
  • use ~ to have google search for synonyms
  • use - to have google eliminate terms from the result set
  • for recent content choose last update from the advanced search menu

For example: I would like Canadian content in English on Academic Honesty from educational institutions, updated in the last year, that does not focus on plagiarism.

academic honesty-plagiarism (limited to last update, past year in advanced search, chose language: english)
yield: 49 results

Contrast this to:

academic honesty canada university
which yields 2,690,000 results!

Only you can judge the quality of the results, but if you apply the filters available to you the amount you need to wade through will be significantly reduced. Remember, Google may not have what you need. If that is the case, talk with a librarian.

Lastly, here is a little info. on how Google Works: