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EH556 -- Victorian Literature: Internet Searching

This Library Guide directs you to print and electronic information sources for Victorian Literature in all genres: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama. The Guide is selective, not comprehensive; the sources listed are representative of their type.

Google Search

What Google Search Does

Primarily, harvest webpages of various document formats hosted in various domains

  • some books or journal articles may get harvested in a search, but these are exceptions in most searches

Google Basic Search (single search box)

Use Google Basic Search to look for items whose search terms fit easily into the single box

  • "known" items, such as for a specific author or title
  • primary source documents
  • public domain source materials (published before 1923)
  • media (images, music, videos)
  • materials that fall below the "Plimsoll line": information, such as author societies or circles, or other materials not published in books or represented in online databases
    • Author Societies

      • ​"fan clubs" (circles, fellowships, societies, etc): membership includes career academics as well as informed amateurs  

        • not indexed by online databases 

        • content may include

          • information on the author and works by that author (secondary materials)
          • a selection of works by the author
          • news and events
          • journals or newsletters with contents, and sometimes full text included
          • links to society webpages for other authors
    • Search Algorithm:  author name     society 

      • "society" is a catchall term that should harvest the website no matter how the group labels itself

        • example sites to explore: Edward Thomas, Charles Sorley

  • words you want excluded from the search; domain names (.com .edu .gov. .mil .net .org) except for the domain you want should go in this box


Google Basic

  • is not curated
    • out-of-date or error-filled webpages and sites are not removed or updated
    • on unfiltered searches, the number of results returned can be overwhelming and the relevance sorting problematic
  • is not well-suited to searching for quality secondary materials for research

Google Basic Search versus Google Advanced Search

Google Basic's interface resembles the Basic Search interface in an EBSCOhost database: a single search box

Google Advanced's interface resembles the Advanced Search interface in an EBSCO database: three (or more) search boxes stacked with some filtering options available

Use Google Basic for searches that require few search terms or for known items when you know precisely what you are looking for.

Use Google Advanced for searches that employ many terms or which require some filtering to make the search more effective.

Advantages of Google Advanced over Google Basic for academic research:

  • stacked search boxes permit the entire body of search terms to be scanned in a single glance
  • permits filtering more easily than Basic Search
  • does the work of inserting Boolean operators, using "quotation marks" and (nesting) for the researcher
    • Basic Search requires the researcher to do all this by hand

Google Advanced Search (search boxes stacked)     

Google Advanced easily performs searches that would be difficult in Google Basic.  Its interface is similar to the interface of the Advanced Search in an EBSCO database.  There is an implied Boolean AND between the all and exact boxes and between the exact and any boxes.  There are implied Boolean ORs within the any box, and an implied Boolean NOT between the any and none boxes.

Find pages with...
To do this in the search box
the words are important to the search, but the word order does not matter 
the words and the order of the words are equally important; titles should go in this box
synonyms or words that have approximately the same meaning (e.g., analysis criticism interpretation)
words you want excluded from the search; domain names (.com .edu .gov. .mil .net .org) except for the domain you want should go in this box
ut 2 periods between the numbers and add a unit of measure: 10..35 lb, $300..$500, 2010..2011
Then narrow your results by...
Find pages in the language you select.
find pages published in a particular region.
find pages updated within the time you specify.
 the site or domain you do want searched
Algorithm for Search for Scholarly Articles (not the only search formula, but one that works)
all box = subject or personal name (e.g., author)
exact  box = subject or title of work
any box = related terms/keywords (e.g., symbol/image  faith/religion)
not box = words you want to exclude (whatever else you may put in this box, the domain names you want blocked should go here)
site or domain box = only one domain name at a time can go here; the two best to start with likely are .edu and .org
  • type all six domain names in the not box and then delete the one you want to search and type it in this box

To limit further, type pdf in the all box.

NOTE: This search should harvest some scholarly articles as well as some open access resources contained in institutional repositories.  Unfortunately, it also will harvest school papers written by ninth-graders.  Evaluate your sources and choose wisely.   

Google Search Advanced's Unique Gift:  


G.S.A. offers an alternative to using ProQuest Dissertations, many of which are behind paywalls.  Unless they have been published as books, most dissertations will not be included in library online catalogs, and databases don't index them.  Google harvests them from open access educational resources and university repositories. 


Search Algorithm for Theses and Dissertations

all box =  any words that help focus the search  submitted [This is the most important word in the search, the word that makes the magic happen.]

exact  box = any phrases that help focus the search
any box = dissertation  thesis
not box = words you want to exclude 
site or domain box = .edu 

Google Scholar

From "About Google Scholar":

"Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research, [as well as]

  • search all scholarly literature from one convenient place
  • explore related works, citations, authors, and publications
  • locate the complete document through your library or on the web
  • keep up with recent developments in any area of research
  • check who's citing your publications, create a public author profile

Google Scholar aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature."

Of the bulleted list above, only bullets two and five can be taken completely at face value.  Not "everything" is in Google Scholar, and most of the entries are citation only, with the full text either being behind a paywall or in a database to which the library subscribes, like JSTOR.  Given this, generally it is better to search the database(s) first.

The differences and use guidelines between Google Basic and Google Advanced apply in Google Scholar as well, with the added distinction that in Google Scholar Advanced some of the filters have been tweaked to accommodate searching for scholarly articles.  The instructions for filling in the top four search boxes carry over as well.          

Find articles

e.g., "PJ Hayes" or McCarthy
e.g., J Biol Chem or Nature
e.g., 1996
Google Scholar's unique gift:  Sometimes (and this is random ans unpredictable) full text of an article that is not available in an online database can be harvested in Google Scholar.
Search Algorithm
  • have the article whose full text is not available visible on the Results List you are harvesting
  • open Google Scholar Basic
  • copy/paste the title of your article into G.S.
  • <,search>
    • if the full text is available in G.S., the link should be viewable

(A bow and tip of the hat to HCL 6th floor librarian Carley Knight for making me aware of this.)

Google Books

Google Books Basic Search:

  • completes the trifecta of Google Search (webpages), Google Scholar (articles), Google Books (books)

Google Books Advanced Search:

  • expands research possibilities by offering at least partial access to books not available from a University library or accessible in electronic format
    • offers a fall-back option when the standard information retrieval tools don't deliver the needed information
  • offers three levels of accessible content
    • snippet = what you see is what you get
    • preview = a portion of the book is in the G.B.A. portal
      • text retention of preview material will have to be by snapshot; it cannot be printed or copy/pasted into a Word document
    • read = the entire book is available (for public domain books printed prior to 1923)                                                       

The differences and use guidelines between Google Basic and Google Advanced apply to Google Books as well, with the added distinction that in Google Books Advanced some of the filters have been tweaked to accommodate searching for book content.  The instructions for filling in the top four search boxes carry over as well.       

Find results

with all of the words


with the exact phrase

with at least one of the words

without the words


                all = the words are important to the search, but word order does not matter

                exact phrase = the words and the order of the words are equally important; titles should go in this box

                at least one =  synonyms or words that have approximately the same meaning (e.g., analysis criticism interpretation)

                without =  words you want excluded from the search

There is an implied Boolean AND between the all and exact boxes and between the exact and at least one boxes.  There are implied Boolean ORs within the at least one box, and an implied Boolean NOT between the at least one and without boxes.  The at least one box requires different treatment depending on whether content pertaining to a "minor title" or a Major Title is being sought.  For major titles more granular terms like theme, symbol, image, setting can be used.  For minor titles, the "analysis criticism interpretation" trifecta usually gives better results.

Google Books' unique gift: Google Books Advanced can do something that online library catalogs cannot do: it can drill down to page level, paragraph level, word level on a page.  JaxCat cannot search for a book to that degree of granularity.  This feature of G.B.A.makes it possible to

  • access content a JaxCat Subject/Keyword search cannot retrieve
  • access content in a book Houston Cole Library owns but for which the subject headings/keywords are so non-intuitive a successful search cannot be initiated
  • access subject headings which might identify books usable like content, even though HCL does not own the book initially sought

Search Algorithm:

  • fill search boxes and perform search
  • look for Preview in the items in the results list
  • click on Preview
    • peruse previewed content for usefulness; if content appears useful
      • click on Find this book in print/Find in a library (sometimes the first link must be clicked in order to access the second)
        • some Preview screens will not offer these options 
          • sometimes a WorldCat filtering screen intervenes; if this happens, put the radio button in WorldCat global
      • if Houston Cole Library has the book, perform a True Title search in JaxCat to get the book's call number
      • if HCL does not have the book, then
        • scroll to the top of the screen and look at the subjects listed in the book record that appears there
        • in a separate window, open a JaxCat subject search screen and copy/paste one of the subject headings from the WorldCat record <search>
          • a list of books cataloged under that same subject that HCL does have should appear 
            • select books from that list to examine in the stacks (remember that in the Library of Congress classification scheme, like is shelved with like)