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Searching for Online and Print Information Sources: Internet Searching

This LibGuide is designed to provide tips and suggestions for searching for online and print information sources, especially for research assignments or research for publication. Most of these strategies might be called "recipe guides" because they offe

Page Overview

Aside from a couple of exceptions referencing Google Search Basic, this page offers tips on searching Google Search, Google Scholar, and Google Books, in Advanced Search mode, for purposes of research.

Using Google Search Advanced

Why Google Advanced?

More precise search for webpages than Google Basic

  • Use Google Basic for "ready reference" information: a name, a date, a definition
  • Use Google Advanced for "unknown item" searches (similar to Subject and Advanced searches in JaxCat)

The search interface 

  • very similar to an  EBSCO database set for an advanced search, but uses ? for the truncation sign rather than *
    • multiple search boxes stacked for easier viewing of a complex, multi-term search
    • invisible but still functional Boolean operators
      • AND between the first and second and second and third search boxes
      • OR between terms in the third box
      • NOT between third and fourth boxes

Search Process

Type the essential words (word order not important)
Exact phrases (word order very important)
For equivalent search terms having approximately the same meaning
  • Example: instruction teaching, if the search is for secondary sources (implied OR between search terms)
    • instruct? teach? if using the truncation sign
Words you don't want
The refinements (edited):  
Limit your results to a specific domain, e.g. .edu, .org, or .gov   
pdf should be the first option
 Unique Contribution
  • can access academic theses and dissertations
    • not published, so not accessible through most databases 
      • available in institutional repositories through open access
    • have been through a sort of peer-review, having to be passed by a committee
    • can be written about subjects for which little published information is available
      • BSA (best source available) principle

Search Process for Theses and Dissertations

The important words -- words vital to the search -- but where word order is unimportant; the word "submitted" must go into this box
Word order is as important as the words themselves; titles or names of people (as subjects) go here
The words you want: dissertation OR thesis (OR optional)
The words you don't want
site or domain: .edu

Using Google Scholar Advanced

Why Google Scholar?

 Google Scholar is Google's attempt to add an "academic" component to Google (just as discovery search services were developed as academia's answer to Google Scholar). 

  • chief contribution is that it links to content in institutional repositories, which often is not full-text accessible in a database
    • some results in Scholar simply redirect the searcher back into a database such as Proquest 

Accessing  Google Scholar Advanced

Open Google Search and type in Google Scholar Advanced <search>

  • the link to Advanced will be found by clicking the waffle icon in the upper left-hand corner and then clicking on the dropdown menu

The search interface

  • top four search boxes are used the same as the corresponding boxes in Google Advanced Search
    • note that searches are limited to articles and some book chapters

Advanced search

Find articles

e.g., "PJ Hayes" or McCarthy
e.g., J Biol Chem or Nature
e.g., 1996


Unique contribution

  • can provide full text to articles whose full text is not available through a subscription online database
    • accessed through institutional repository open access portals

Searching for full text not present in a database

  • perform a database search as per the process for electronic databases
    • look for full text links in the Results list; if none are available for a particular article
      • open Google Scholar Advanced
        • copy the title of the article from the database Results List
        • paste the title into the exact phrase box of Google Scholar Advanced <search>


LibGuides (Google Search Basic)

Expanding Information Searches Using LibGuides

Open Google Search Basic (single box)

  • type in the subject about which you want information
    • enclose multi-word phrases (such as proper names) in quotation marks
  • add the word libguide <search>

NOTE:  LibGuides are tailored to their own campus communities, which means they may reference resources to which Houston Cole Library does not have access.  But most of them also list resources which are more universally accessible; these should be the things you look for.

Using Google Books Advanced

Why Google Books Advanced?

Google Books Advanced has the capability to do something no other search engine available to the JSU community can do: drill down to page level in books to search for individual words or phrases

  • can direct the researcher to relevant passages in books. 
    • vastly expands the opportunities to obtain useful book materials beyond what JaxCat, databases, or Gemfinder can do
  • can reveal useful scholarship that otherwise might be overlooked
    • JaxCat Subject or Advanced searches may require search terms so non-intuitive that most times the book would not be harvested
  • through its Preview feature, can provide a portion of the book's text
    • sometimes the Preview contains useful information, even if Houston Cole Library does not own the entire book
      • Full and Read options also are available, but only for books that are very old and usually published before 1923
  • even if HCL does not own the book, linking back through WorldCat provides a list of nearby libraries that do own the book
    • JSU undergraduate and graduate students have the Allies option and also interlibrary loan
  • even if getting a copy of the book through ILL is not an option, the WorldCat item record lists subject headings assigned to that book
    • once the headings are known, JaxCat Subject searches for them can be performed (copy/paste)
      • since Library of Congress Classification places like with like, once the targeted book has been found on the shelf, nearby books should be examined for their potential usefulness

The search interface (edited)

Go to Google Books Home  
 Advanced Book Search About Google 

Find results


Search boxes:

  • Boolean operators have the same arrangement and function as in Google Search Advanced and Google Scholar Advanced
    • all box: essential words, but not phrases
    • exact phrase box: when both words and word order are important
    • at least box: variant search terms which have essentially the same meaning
      • example: consequences results
    • without box: words whose inclusion might sabotage the search results

Perusing your results list

  • skim your results, at least through the first two screens, for previews useful to you
    • click on Preview button beneath Snippet to view the part of the book that is included in Google Books Advanced
      • useful content will have to be photographed and then uploaded; GBA is not very print or copy/paste friendly

To see where a print copy of the book is available

  • click on the Preview button 
  • click on the three stacked dots (more actions menu) at the right end of the GBA toolbar
    • find in a library
    • WorldCat radio button (THE WorldCat, not JSU WorldCat)
      • scan list of libraries holding book 
        • if HCL owns the book, perform a JaxCat title search for it to get the call number
        • if HCL does not own the book, look at the list of subject headings assigned to the book in the item record at the top of the WorldCat screen
          • copy a heading, open a JaxCat Subject search window, paste in the heading <search>
            • remember to delete the period at the end of the WorldCat subject line before you <search> in JaxCat
              • go to the shelves to find books sharing that subject heading
                • since the Library of Congress Classification places like with like, once the targeted book has been found on the shelf, nearby books should be examined for their potential usefulness