February 16, 2013

7 Things I Learned in Google's Advanced Power Searching Class

Yes, this class was definitely more challenging than the first!

Full disclosure: I didn't do all of the challenges. They were recommended, but not required. I did, however, watch all of the video tutorials.

These are some of the cool things I learned:

1. I learned that I can put double-quotes (what I usually refer to as quotation marks) around a single word so that the results will bring up only that word, not recommended synonyms or localized results. Another way to achieve the same result is to use verbatim mode.

Here's the video that explains both concepts:

2. This was the first time I had heard the term triangulation used in relation to Google searches.

“Intentionally look for diversity and variety in your search results.” 

Dan Russell said this and I will use this quote in my information literacy classes.

Here's the video about comparing multiple sources:

3. I learned so many more details about how Google Trends works. 
  • One can search worldwide or by country. 
  • The U. S. regional look is awesome; it details how people are searching across the country. 
  • There are 4 different kinds of searches: web, image, news, and product. 
  • One can compare search terms, locations, and time ranges. 
  • One can search by categories.
Of course, I just had to try a web search of "libraries" for the last twelve months, in all categories, searched for in the United States. "Libraries" is definitely an often-searched topic!

There are umpteen ways to find out what people are searching for, and you can embed the information on a website, just as I have done here.

Imagine what these statistics would add to a student's research. What a rich primary resource!

5. I can do a search of state courts in Google Scholar. I chose to do a search of Hawaii courts on the topic of wind energy and was rewarded with 14 results. WOW! Primary source heaven!

6. I already knew that I could use the finite number range operator #..# but I did not know that if I don't want to specify the upper range, this is what I would type: #..

7. The last thing I learned was so awesome!

Challenge Number 6 was to find out "Where in the World?". I'm thrilled to say I completed this challenge, and learned all about the Norway Book Boat, a Floating Library. (All library services are free in Norway -- they get it!)

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What did I love about this class?

1. There were lots of opportunities in Hangouts to ask questions, up to the last day.

2. Collaboration with other students was encouraged.

3. I liked having a choice of certificate challenges because I could not get the answer to the first one! It took me less than five minutes to complete the second one. I think my previous experience selling on eBay gave me an edge. :)

4. There were 36,000 taking this class, yet the teacher seemed really close and reachable. Here's Dan Russell's reflection about the class: Teaching the Advanced Power Searching with Google MOOC. Dan writes that only 10% completed the course, which he notes is a usual percentage for MOOCs. Interesting! I would love to know the reasons for the low number.


1. Perhaps it could be made clearer that the challenges are highly recommended but not required.

2. The same as the last time: more please!

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