Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Everyone will be familiar with the process of looking up material and, quite likely, the use of inverted commas (“”) around phrases for sourcing specific phrases.

Image request icon.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, there is even more functionality within this iconic search engine, so much so that there are probably tips below that you’ve not encountered before. So, if you want to get far more precise results when you are searching, rather than the “About 889,000,000 results (0.34 seconds)” that came up when I put the word searching by itself into Google, try some of the strategies listed below.

Google Search Tips

1. Exact phrase search

Search multiple words as one phrase using inverted commas “   “

Example: “climate change”

Tip: Only use this if you’re looking for an exact phrase because it will exclude other results which may still be useful eg sites that include the phrase changes in climate

Tip: great for finding song lyrics

2. Search for words near other words

To find results that have words or phrases that are near each other, use the ‘AROUND’ operator

Example: climate AROUND(3) change

will find results which have the words climate and change within three words of each other

Tip: Change the number in the brackets to increase or reduce the number of words that the words or phrases are found within each other

3. Exclude words

If you’re doing a search for mullet but want to exclude results that include the term hair, use the minus (-) sign in front of the term you wish to exclude

Example: mullet -hair

Tip: You can also use the minus (-) operator to exclude results from specific websites

eg: bushfire

Note: searching wikipedia is still great for springboarding to other sites, or getting background info, so excluding results from wikipedia may or may not be useful depending on context

4. Search for either word

To search for results that have one of several words, use the ‘OR’ operator

Example: world cup location 2014 OR 2018

5. Search for synonyms

To search for similar words use the tilde (~) operator


“Catch 22” ~critique

Tip: (In other research databases, not Google)

To expand your search to find related words that have a common root word, use the * symbol to find word ending variations eg: ideolog*

will find ideology, ideologies, ideologue etc

6. Site specific search

To search for results within a particular site, use the ‘site: ‘ modifier


“black and white”

will find all results that have the phrase “black and white” on Newington websites.

Tip: Also great for searching at the domain level

eg .edu or .org

Tip: An excellent way to find government documents

eg: unemployment

7. File type search

To search for specific file types, use the ‘filetype: ’ modifier


“digital citizenship” filetype:ppt

8. Search for ranges

To find results within a range of years use two full stops with no spaces (..)


earthquakes 2000..2013

Tip: Use only one number plus two full stops to indicate an upper or a lower range

AFL grand final winners 2000.. (AFL grand final winners from 2000 on)

Australian prime ministers ..1960  (Australian prime ministers up to 1960)

9. Search for definitions

Use the ‘define: ’ operator



Tip: if the word is unusual enough, just typing the word in the search box is sufficient to bring up the definition as the first result

10. Search by reading level

To find results that are sorted by reading level, click on ‘Search tools’ then under ‘All results’ select ‘Reading level’

11. Search for graphs of maths formulas

Type in the formula in the Google search box



Tip: The caret (^) symbol denotes an exponential ie y=x²+1

12. Currency conversion

Use the [currency 1] in [currency 2] operator


20AUD in USD

Tip: Do a variety of conversions in Google eg speed, length, temperature.

For a full list of conversions supported:

13. Search for high resolution images

Use Google Image search, click on ‘Search tools’ and then ‘Size’

Tip: The larger the size/resolution, the better it will look when printed

14. Search for Creative Commons licensed material

Use Google Image search, click on settings (cog), scroll to ‘Usage rights’ field

Tip: Double check the license before use

Alternatively, use the Creative Commons search:

It’s bound to happen one time or another in your life. You leave work for the holidays, not realising or forgetting that your stuff needed to be packed up, ready for the office to be renovated. It happened to a colleague of mine who was on long service leave, returning to discover that the proposed move date had been brought forward and 20 years worth of files, kept in a storage room, inadvertently being turfed out. Files gone forever.

English: Wooden File Cabinet with drawer open....

Filed away… forever? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the flip side, I recall a teacher who, having taught for over 30 years, had discovered the liberating power of throwing everything away… every three years. His rationale? Quite simply, to ensure that you keep reinvigorating yourself and, in the process, avoid becoming stale. Of course, the internet has probably gone some substantial way to overcoming ‘resource loss’. So much is available online that you can quickly locate resources that would previously have taken you ten times as long to source.
But, it was this observation, from the first colleague who had lost her files, that stimulated the question – What would you save if the internet were shrinking?

At my school, we have just opened up a wonderful new library – ironically, perhaps, with about two-thirds of the books from the former library. The rest (many never even borrowed) were sent to our charity schools or culled. Many of these books will never come back… on the basis that, if you want to read them, they are accessible online.

So, my brain stimulator to you:

Imagine that the internet were shrinking. Before the inevitable happens, you have the chance to save, from the cloud, those sites, pages or resources which would be the most critical, precious, personal or beautiful to you. To sharpen the task, what if there were only 5, or perhaps 10 ‘items’ that you could preserve.

For the purposes of this, I’m not looking for you to have to get all 10 – even being able to say the one or two that first leap to mind are of interest… Feel free to put your suggestions in the comments below.

Ironically, as the internet gets ever bigger, how successfully are we cataloguing all these experiences? All those sites that we once viewed and thought: Hmm, that looks pretty interesting. I’ll pop by some day and have another look… only to never do so? Maybe those filing cabinets, notebooks, photo albums and journals still have a place in our lives…

Lighthouse beam at sunset

Lighthouse beam at sunset (Photo credit: McBadger)

I’ve been a little slack of late – despite school holidays, I’ve only written one post and that was at the start of the break. However, I’ve noticed that my blog has managed to keep going on, despite my absence. Not massive numbers (it is still less than a year old) but enough to make me wonder, given enough steam, how long the thing could go on, on its own terms.I’ve written about a Post’s use by date before, as well as which Post generates the most traffic. For me, it is my 2nd Post, exploring two texts (Frankenstein and Blade Runner) we study as part of our senior school syllabus in Australia.
In some ways this is ironic – I originally wrote this as a marker’s feedback document for the final year students. Currently it stands at nearly double the next best Post’s effort (a lesson plan for a drama activity called ROBOT) at 154 to 84 views. Sure it is one of the oldest posts, but it still pops up as the one sought out the most often. Of course, this does not take into account the views to the blog itself (the home page) or the About page, both of which are way higher.

So in terms of my theme, I’m thinking of the automated lighthouse, shining out into the night long after the need for humans to reside there has ended. The light still shines out, warning ships of the danger… or perhaps it is an inverse idea – the light shines out, showing the ship at sea where the site resides.

unmanned scientific probes Voyager

We’ve had the idea of space junk for just over half a century… items floating about in space that have served their purpose long ago, or like the Voyager Spacecraft, have wildly surpassed their original design parameters. The internet has already seen sites where their owners have already passed away, yet the site goes on, like Voyager, into the inky future. The internet detritus can only increase dramatically in the years to come. It is kind of inspiring in one sense; that your work will go on existing, long after you’ve stopped writing… or existing. Is this our 21st Century version of immortality, where a site could go on for hundreds of years, so long as the server and hosts continue to exist. But at the same time, I am reminded of one of my favourite writers from my childhood – Ray Bradbury – and his story from the Martian Chronicles There Will Come Soft RainsA house that continues on long after its occupants have gone. And that immortality is kind of sad in a way.