Google Like a Librarian

Google Like a Librarian

Google Like a Librarian

So you think you know how to Google?

Google has a reputation for always finding the answer. Don’t know? Just Google it. But when you have something very specific in mind, or are looking for scholarly information, it is not always that simple. Google Scholar is your best bet for finding scholarly articles on the open web, and there are various techniques you can use to make all of your Google searches even better.

The key is that Google has advanced search functions and filters, just like a database, which will allow you to search more specifically and narrow your results. Narrowing is especially important with Google products since you can easily get millions of results, so anything you can do to make that a smaller, more relevant set of results is better.



At the top of every results page, just below the search bar, look for the word “Tools”. Selecting tools will allow you to narrow your results with filters that will appear below the menu. Different tools exist depending on what kind of search you are doing. A simple web search will allow you to filter results by when they were last updated by changing “Any Time” to another option. You can also change “All Results” to “Verbatim” if you wanted to search for your exact terms.

For fun, try changing “Any Time” to “Past Hour”. You can then sort your results by relevance, or by date. Sort by date and you will likely find a result from the past five minutes! This might not be the best option when looking for scholarly research, but you can also choose a custom date range that is appropriate to your topic.

Other types of searches, such as image searches, or video searches, will give you different tools. Try filtering your images by color or by usage rights!


Advanced Search

Accessible directly through, and also through the “Settings” option which can be found right next to “Tools” on your results page, Advanced Search gives you additional search fields and options. Plug your search terms into the most appropriate field and then use the drop down menus as filters.

My personal favorite advanced option is “Site or Domain” which allows you to find results from only a single site (like or a single domain (such as .edu or .gov).


Google Scholar

If you are searching specifically for scholarly articles, search with Google Scholar instead. This search engine is specifically for scholarly literature and like regular Google, it also has filtering and advanced options. Google Scholar filters will appear in the left sidebar of your results, just like they would in a database, and Advanced Search can be toggled by clicking on the arrow in the upper right corner of the page.

The right sidebar next to your results will usually show links to free versions of articles. By setting up a library link, you can also have Google Scholar display links to articles in Elizabethtown College databases. This can be done by clicking the arrow in the upper right corner and selecting “Settings”, then “Library Links”. Adding an Elizabethtown College library link will display “Journals@Elizabethtown” in the right sidebar next to any result that is in our databases.

No free version showing the in the right sidebar? Try clicking “All # Versions” under a result and see if any of the other versions are free. It can often be difficult to find free versions of articles through Google Scholar, so you should always double check and see if an article is available through the High Library’s web site! You can do this by using Quick Search or Journal Finder. Remember, if we don’t have it, you can always use Interlibrary Loan to request the article for free!

Search Operators

Our last Google tip for today is to use search operators. Adding these signal words to your searches can also direct the types of results you receive and many are unique to Google. Check out this link to see a few.

Want more tips? Have a look at the awesome infographic in this article  or try Googling for “Google Tricks”!

Questions about these tips or any other library information? SCPS’s Liaison Librarian, Jennifer Strain [] is happy to help.