Showing posts with label Advanced Search. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Advanced Search. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Why You Should Refine Search Results by Language, Region, and Date

Google’s Advanced Search menu offers more than just tools for refining your search terms. In the Advanced Search menu you’ll find tools for refining search results according to language, region of publication, recency of updates, site or domain, filetype, usage rights, where search terms appear, and exclusion of explicit results. Some of those filters and why you’d use them are easy to ascertain from their names. The reason for using some of the other filters isn’t so obvious.

Narrowing search results by language of publication is helpful for the obvious reason of finding information in the language of your choice. It’s also helpful to narrow search results by language when researching a topic that originated in a language other than your own native tongue. Likewise, if the topic is widely written about by scholars who write in a language other than your own, narrowing a search to that language may lead you to more resources than if you limited yourself to content published in your preferred language. For example, if I'm researching a topic in Japanese history, after reading as much as I can in English I may narrow my search to content published in Japanese. But how do I do that if I can’t read or speak Japanese? Fortunately, modern web browsers including Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have translation tools built into them. Of course, those translation tools aren’t without flaws but nonetheless they do open up a comparatively new world of research options.

Refining search results according to the region of publication is useful for many of the same reasons as refining search results according to language of publication. Additionally, viewing search results according to the region of publication is useful when evaluating perspectives on a historical event. Particularly divisive geopolitical events are often written about in distinctly different ways depending upon who is doing the writing, where they live, and their political alliances. Looking at these differences is good for developing a balanced understanding of events.

The option to refine search results according to the last update is obviously helpful when searching for the latest published information about a trending news topic. It’s also helpful when trying to locate webpages that were published during a specific range of dates. A good use case for this is to search for information that was published about an event as it was happening or immediately after it. Then compare that information to more recent information published about the same event. For example, students conducting research about the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001 can refine their search results to pages published or updated September 11, 2001 through December 31, 2001 then compare those results to that of search not refined by date of publication.

It should be noted that refining Google search results according to date of update or publication is not always accurate. One of the reasons for that is some website owners will manipulate the content of their pages to make it appear that their sites have been updated even though nothing has materially changed on the site. To get a better picture of what was published on a particular website on a given day, try using The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine contains archived versions of websites. Large, popular websites like are archived more frequently than smaller websites. You can learn how to use The Wayback Machine by watching this short video. A screen image of what looked like on September 11, 2001 as archived by The Wayback Machine is included below.

This blog post was written by Richard Byrne and originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere it has been used without permission. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Library of Congress Poses a Search Challenge for Anyone to Try

In the 2019-20 Practical Ed Tech Handbook I included a section about creating image-based search challenges for students. The idea behind giving students image-based search challenges is to provide them with some prompts that force them to use all available clues and tools in order to arrive at the correct answers. That concept is taken to the extreme in a new "contest" presented by the Library of Congress. I put contest in quotes because there are not any prizes other than the joy of being right.

Who Am I? Mystery Photo Contest is a blog post that appeared on Monday on the Library of Congress's blog. The blog post contains nine pictures of people that the LOC needs help identifying. The only clues provided are that the images are publicity stills from the library's moving image section and that performing a reverse image search did not yield and matches.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a difficult search challenge activity to use with your students, the LOC's Who Am I? Mystery Photo Contest could be just what you need. Students will have to string together as many clues as possible in order to get to arrive at an answer.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Searching and Sharing Are Thinking Skills

Searching for information in many ways is easier today than ever before. You can search by typing a query into a search engine, you can speak to search, and you can use the camera on your smart phone to search by image. In a new city and looking for a good place to eat? Just turn on your phone's location data and Google will give you all kinds of recommendations.

But while we have more tools to locate information than ever before, we don't necessarily find better information or even accurate information through all of those tools. That's why whenever I teach search strategies, the first thing that I talk about is the thought processes needed in order to form a good search strategy. For me and my students this always begins with creating a list of the things we know to be facts about the topic we'er researching. That way, we can quickly check the information we find against that which has already been established as fact.

Similarly, in a time in which we're increasingly aware of fake news being spread through social media, we should be teaching students to look at social media news stories with a critical eye. Does the story seem to good to be true? (Why would an airline give away $500 to the first 1000 people to like something on Facebook? Answer, they're not). Do the "facts" in a headline seem incongruent with what you know to be facts? Did you actually read the story? These are all things that we should be asking before sharing.

I'll be sharing more thoughts on this topic in Search Strategies Students Need to Know

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Quick Reminder About Google's Advanced Search Menu

This evening on the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page someone made the comment that Google removed the advanced search tools. That is not true. The reading level refinement tool is gone, but the rest of the advanced search tools are still available. To access the advanced search menu conduct an initial search then open the gear icon in the upper, right corner of the screen. See my screenshot below for an explanation.
Click image to view full size. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Google Search Lesson Plans and Webinars

Give your students any kind of research assignment and for better or worse the first place they're likely to turn to is Google. As educators part of our responsibility to our students is to teach them how to search more effectively. To that end the Google Search Education Evangelism site has a selection of lesson plans that you can use and modify to teach search techniques to your students. On the Search Education site you will find nine lesson plans covering the basics of search through advanced techniques to get students beyond the first page or two of search results.

If you're not sure what exactly Google offers for advanced search options or how you will teach them, check out the archived webinars Google offers in which many of the techniques and strategies are explained.

I have previously shared some resources of my own on the topic of advanced Google search tools. You can see one of those resources below.

Thanks to Alice Barr for Tweeting the link to the Google Search Education Evangelism site.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Introduction to Advanced Google Search

Yesterday I published a short guide to using Google Books. By request from a handful of readers I've now put together a short tutorial on accessing Google's advanced search tools. This guide is meant as an introduction to using Google's advanced search tools that will help your students discover content that lies deeper than the first few pages of a typical Google search.

The guide was created without signing into a Google account because not every student has a Google account (much to Google's chagrin). If your students do have Google accounts there are some other search features that they can access.

If you have a favorite search tip that you would like to share, please leave a comment below.

For a video overview of web search strategies check out Common Craft's Web Search Strategies in Plain English.