Guidelines for Advance Online Google Searching

To get the most out of Google (www.google.com) use the following, as appropriate:



Stemming – Google generally automatically searches for words with different endings

fountains will find fountain and also fountains

To search for an exact phrase put quotation marks around a set of words.

Exclude punctuation when using “”to search for a title

“climate change”

“freedom of information” “state bodies”

“Fuel Poverty Older People and Cold Weather an all Island Analysis”

Use hyphens (-) to search for terms that could be one, two or hyphenated words

straw-bale will pick up straw-bale, strawbale or straw bale

Fill in word gaps using an asterisk. This will pick up possible extra word/s.

It will also fill in unknown gaps.

NB: check more than one source to verify the answer to your question.

“george * bush” will pick up George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, George Walker Bush

“There are * continents”

“* opened the aviva stadium”

Google assumes an AND between search terms. The use of the implicit AND reduces search results and is used to combine different concepts.

History agriculture Ireland is actually history AND agriculture AND Ireland and will retrieve items which contain all three terms

To include terms that have a similar meaning / synonyms use OR between words. This will increase your search results.

NB: use the OR to combine American terms and spelling variations

History agriculture OR farming Ireland OR irish

“climate change” OR “global warming”

self-care therapists OR counsellors OR counselors

To exclude a word add the minus symbol ( – ) before the word

NB: don’t use if the words are related in meaning – result may exclude relevant sources 

“king charles” –dog

To limit a search to a specific site/s add site: to the URL

“Ireland in a warmer world” site:www.met.ie

site:europa.eu/ regulation 1008

site:www.independent.ie OR site:www.irishtimes.com OR site:www.irishexaminer.com OR site:rte.ie “medical card” scheme OR criteria change

To limit a search to part of a URL add site: to the suffix

“wave energy” OR “tidal energy” site:ac.uk OR site:edu

“Samantha power” speeches site:gov

To exclude a URL add –site: before the URL

To limit a search by filetype add filetype:pdf or filetype:ppt or filetype:xls to your search

NB: not all publications are PDFs and not all statistics are XLS

ipad mini -site:apple.com

site:oecd.org ireland economy filetype:pdf

marketing filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx site:ac.uk OR site:edu

unemployment OR “live register” site:cso.ie filetype:xls

Limit your results to a specific time period e.g. past 2 months, past year.

Good way to limit by the recent past

Recent OECD report on the Irish economy:

site:oecd.org ireland economy

Then click on Search tools / Any time / Past year (or Custom range)

Search over specific time periods using the years separated by two dots.

Good way to limit by longer/older date range

Dublin housing 1900..1950

Limit words to appear in title using intitle: as a prefix

intitle:”The Tempest” gender

Get a definition by adding define before the word

define dymaxion

Check under About for the credentials of a website

“fine gael” policy “northern ireland” “anglo irish agreement” OR sunningdale OR fitzgerald


20 year “irish language” strategy comment OR opinion OR “press release” OR debate OR discussion


Use Google to calculate, e.g. miles in kilometres, temperature, currency

4oz in grams

€12 in £

Add “type” of information being sought to search string :

“Annual report”


Database OR dataset

“Digital library” OR “digital collection”


“Search engine”

Once within a resource such as a database, perform a second stage search for your topic. If the resource is text-based – Word or PDF, use Ctrl and f key to search within.

Eirgrid “annual report”

gender studies bibliographies

“public health” ireland OR irish database OR dataset

Architecture Ireland OR irish database

“soil chemistry” datasets

“first world war” OR “world war 1” “digital library” OR “digital collection”

“irish literature” libguide

“first world war” OR “world war 1” libguide



zoology portal OR directory OR “search



Eirgrid “annual report”

And then Ctrl & f to bring up the search box. Then type in your search terms.