Optimize Google Search – Part 1

Janet Klug, WE Think – Vol 3 No 3

Google is more than just a search engine. It also contains:

  • Web content
  • Images
  • Scholarly papers
  • Book search (searches full text)
  • Video
  • More is being added all the time!

Most Google users just use the Google search box to search the web. Unfortunately, this frequently brings thousands of suggested “hits,” only a few of which may actually have the information you are seeking.

Look at the item shown in Figure 1. What can we learn about this item as quickly as possible?

advertising cover from burnet house

Figure 1. Advertising cover from Burnet House in Cincinnati.

Enter “Burnet House” in the Google search bar, but instead of clicking “Search,” click on the word “Images.” The search will return images that relate to your search terms. Click on any of the images that appear to be what you are seeking.

searching for images

Figure 2. Instead of searching the web, click “Images” and look for images of Burnet House.

Figure 3 shows a website containing much information about Burnet House as well as images of the structure. By searching images, we were able to go directly to the information we wanted. Searching images expedites a search!

searching images

Figure 3. Searching images finds what you are seeking a LOT faster.

Need more information? This time click “More” above the search bar. A dropdown menu appears. Click “Books.”

searching books

Figure 4. Instead of searching the web or searching images, you can also search “books.” Click “More” and then when the drop-down menu, click “Books.”

google books

Figure 5. Google houses thousands of books online, available for you to search, read and download. Did I mention the magic word? Free!

Enter your search term into the Google search box and click “Search.”

burnet house book

Figure 6. The Burnet House search in Google books suggests a title published in 1855…just the period we seek. Click that title.

Google books will return a number of suggestions. The first one sounds great, so click on that. Figure 7 shows what Google returns. It is a page from the book, with the search terms highlighted in yellow.

book results

Figure 7. Google returns a page from the book in which the search terms are highlighted in yellow.

Notice the links on the right side (Figure 8). Many of the Google books can be downloaded as pdf files for free. You can also search the entire book or just the table of contents. You can click a link to purchase the book from various vendors.

free book download

Figure 8. Many of the books resident in Google books may be downloaded for free.

Museums and historical societies are good places to seek help for historical subjects. First you have to find them. Our Burnet House cover came from Cincinnati, so I Googled “Cincinnati Historical Society” (Figure 9).

Cincinnati Historical Society.

Figure 9. Searching the web for the Cincinnati Historical Society.

When you find a historical society or museum, click around the website and see what exhibits and archives they have available for viewing. You may be surprised at what you can find.

website archives

Figure 10. Check the website and see if there are archives you can access on the Internet.

The Cincinnati Historical Society has many printed publications archived on its website, and they have made it easy to search them all by subject. I entered the search “Cincinnati hotels.”

That search netted several good suggestions.

The first one was an article about Inns and Hotels in Cincinnati, published in the Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin.

Click on that, and it takes you to a pdf file of the entire article that you can read page by page or download onto your computer’s hard drive or removable storage device. (Figure 11). Once again, it’s free!

society journals

Figure 11. The Cincinnati Historical Society has archived the full run of several journals.

It is easy to scroll through the article, read it online, or download it for later use.

thumbnails of journals

Figure 12. A quick scroll through the thumbnails of each page enables a quick find of an illustration of Burnet House.

Part 2 of this article will discuss collecting images from the web. End of article marker.

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Posted in education, internet, literature, research

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