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First Warhawks in Flight: Google

This guide is intended to help undergraduate students make the most of their Library research.

Google Search Basics

Searches are not case sensitive. 

  • Keywords may be entered in lower or upper case or a combination of both. Math, math, MATH  
  • Exception: Boolean operator OR
    • Find restaurants in Whitewater or Janesville
      Restaurants Whitewater OR Janesville      
       must be in caps.
    • Pipe symbol may be used instead of OR               
      Restaurants Whitewater | Janesville

Boolean operator AND is assumed.

  • Find restaurants in Whitewater and Janesville         
    Restaurants Whitewater Janesville

Word order matters.

  • Google ranks the first word slightly higher than the second, the second slightly more than the third, etc.
    • music math (results are slightly different from the search math music)

Google ignores most punctuation and symbols. Exceptions:

    • Symbols used as search operators. (See the Advanced Google Search page.)
    • Underscore or hyphen when used to connect words.
      • brother-in-law
      • end_of_file
    • Symbols when used to convey meaning such as a programming language (C++), musical terms (G#), etc.

Google uses automatic word stemming.

  • Google does not allow wildcards (*) to be used for variable ends of words.
  • Instead, Google searches for all possible word variations.
    • Diet returns diets dieting dietary
    • The wildcard symbol (*) is instead used for whole words.

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*UW-W librarians staff are staffing this chat service on an irregular basis during winterim 2021. You may chat with non-UW-W librarians at any time, and we will follow up if needed.