Virtual Learning Resources Center Search Tips*
The Virtual LRC and related websites are now all searched using a form of a Google Custom Search Engine. This means that almost all of the search strategies employed with Google will work for Virtual LRC. The major difference is that while Google searches the entire Internet, the Virtual Learning Resources Center and related websites search only a much smaller number of academic websites previously recommended by teachers, librarians and library and educational consortia.
Basic Facts :
Search is always case insensitive. A search for Endangered Animals is the same as a search for endangered animals. Generally, punctuation is ignored, including @#$%^&*()=+\ and other special characters.
In Infotrek, just click on the general topic that interests you. Then, scroll through the list of related terms. Click on the term that you are selecting and it will be put into the search box. Click the magnifying glass in the search box and your search will be completed.
Excluding terms (-) :
Put a minus sign - directly before any term you want to exclude from your search. A search for endangered animals -birds will find all sorts of endangered animals, but not birds.
The OR operator :
Google's default behavior is to consider all the words in a search. If you want to specifically allow either one of several words, you can use the OR operator (note that you have to type 'OR' in ALL CAPS). For example, San Francisco Giants 2004 OR 2005 will give you results about either one of these years, whereas San Francisco Giants 2004 2005 (without the OR) will show pages that include both years on the same page.
Using Parentheses ( ) to Nest Terms :
If you are not sure about which terms to use, you can use parentheses ( ) and the OR operator to suggest synonyms for Google to consider. For example endangered (animals OR species). This search will produce considerably more hits than , say, endangered animals alone. (9,790,000 hits versus 2,600,000 hits)
*Most of these tips were taken almost word for word from Google's support pages. For some more advanced search tips, click here or here.