If you’ve surfed the Web, chances are you’ve gone there searching for specific information. How do you get the most out of your search?

Mike Haddock, an associate professor at Kansas State University’s Hale Library, shared some common-sense tips with BEEF.

Here are some of his suggestions for a successful search:

  • Read the search site directions. Different search engines have different requirements.
  • Identify your concepts and keywords. Choose nouns and objects.
  • Put the main concept first, but utilize several keywords. The more keywords you use, the more focused your search will be.
  • Combine keywords into phrases using quotation marks when possible (i.e. "range management").
  • "And" is one of the most powerful words when searching, Haddock says. But you’ve got to know how to use it. A search for dog and cat will only search for the two words together; dog or cat will look for documents with either of the words.
  • Include synonyms, alternate spellings and scientific names connected with "or" (e.g. "big bluestem" or "Andropogon gerardii").
  • Check your spelling.
  • If you don’t find anything, use different concepts or repeat your search with a different search engine.

Haddock’s favorite search engine? He believes Google is the best search engine on the Web right now. One perk from Google is that it recently added the capability to search for PDF files.

Compiled by Kindra Gordon