Bing extends date search option

Bing has at last extended its date search options. Until recently one could only limit results to the past 24 hours, past week or the past month, and then only in Bing US. ?Bing has now added a custom range on a par with Google.

Bing_Date_US_2

The UK version of Bing has not had a date option until now but bizarrely has added?the old, limited US selection.

Bing-Date-UK-2It seems very strange that they haven’t implemented the full US list. One can but hope that it will happen soon rather than in several years time, which is how long it has taken for this version to appear in Bing UK.

Advanced Google workshop – Top Tips

This collection of Top Tips is a combined list nominated by those who attended the UKeiG workshop on “New Google, New Challenges”. The next UKeiG Google workshop will be run on 8th September 2016.

1. Do not trust Google’s facts and answers
Google tries to provide facts and quick answers to your queries at the top and to the right of your results. These are computer generated extracts from pages and several different sources may be used to produce an “answer”. They are sometimes misleading or completely wrong. At the time of writing, the answer provided for a search on frugivore is an excellent example. (It explains why your cat is so fussy over its food – it is obviously craving its 5 a Day!) Always go to the original source to double check the information, but this is not always provided?by Google.

2. Country versions of Google and /ncr
Country versions of Google give priority to the local content. This is a useful strategy when searching for research groups, companies and people that are active or working in a particular country. Use the standard ISO two letter country code, for example http://www.google.fr/ for Google France,?http://www.google.it/ for Google Italy.

It is also worth trying your search in Google.com. Your results will probably be more international or US focused but you may see new search features or layouts in Google.com that are not yet available elsewhere.?If Google insists on redirecting you to your own country version, go to the bottom right hand corner of the Google home page and you should see a link to Google.com. If there is no link then add ‘/ncr’ to the Google URL, for example http://www.google.com/ncr .

The downside of using country versions of any search tool is that the prioritised information is likely to be in the local language.

3. Search history
Your search history, which is recorded and available for you to view if you are signed in to your Google account, is used by Google to help personalise your results but it can also be useful as a record of past searches. If a user comes back to you having forgotten or lost the search and documents you gave them your search history should be able to help you find both. On any search results page click on the cog wheel in the upper right hand area of the screen and select History. You can then browse your history or select a date from the calendar (upper right and area of the History screen).

4. Verbatim
This is an essential tool for making Google carry out your search the way you want it run. Google automatically looks for variations on your terms and sometimes drops terms from your search, which is not always helpful. To use Verbatim, first run your search. Then click on ‘Search tools’ in the menu that runs across the top of your results page. A second row of options should appear. Click on ‘All results’ and from the drop down menu select Verbatim. Google will then search for your terms without any variations or omissions. Note that Google will search for documents and pages in which the words appear in any order. If you are searching on the title of a paper place the title within double quote marks to force an exact phrase match. If Google still alters your search then run Verbatim.?

Verbatim-Factsheet
If you are carrying out in-depth research it is worth trying out Verbatim even if the “normal” Google results seem OK. You may see very different and possibly more relevant content.

5. filetype: command.
An important advanced search command that is available not only in Google but in many alternative search tools. Use the?filetype:?command to limit your research to PowerPoint for presentations, spreadsheets for data and statistics, or PDF for research papers and industry/government reports.

For example:

plasmonic nanoparticles filetype:ppt

The command must be all lower case and there must be no spaces between the colon and the command or the file extension, otherwise Google will treat the command as a searchable word. Also you must search for pre and post Office 2007 file extensions separately as Google does not automatically pick up both.

For example

plasmonic nanoparticles filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx

Note that Google’s Advanced Search screen pull down menu for filetype: only searches for pre Office 2007 extensions.

6. Minus sign to exclude information
Use the minus sign immediately before a term to exclude documents containing that term, but use with care as you may lose valuable information. It can also be used with commands to exclude file formats or websites from your search.

For example:

occupational asthma UK site:gov.uk -site:hse.gov.uk
-site:nationalarchives.gov.uk

7. Combine search commands
Combine multiple commands such as filetype: and site: to focus your search. Use the OR command to search for alternatives, for example:

occupational asthma UK site:ac.uk filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx

8.Personalise Google News
Personalise Google News (http://news.google.co.uk) page when signed in to your account? and change what content is automatically displayed or add your own searches. Click on the Personalise button at the top of the right hand column.?

9. Google Scholar Cite feature
Click on the Cite link under a reference in Google Scholar and Google will give you options to import a citation in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard or Vancouver style into BibTex, EndNote, RefMan or RefWorks. Note that if the article is only available online you may need to add a doi or a URL, and the date of access.

10. Use Google site: search on Google scholar
This is one I had not thought of but was recommended by one of the delegates as a way of using Google’s advanced search commands on Google Scholar instead of Scholar’s own. (I have not had time to test this one out myself).

Essential non-Google Search Tools – Top Tips

It has been a while since I did a Top Tips from my workshops so here is the first of two that came out of a couple of recent UKeiG events. ?This collection of Top Tips is a combined list nominated by those who attended the workshop on “Essential non-Google Search Tools” on 12th April 2016 in London.

This particular workshop will be re-run later in the year on September 7th. See the UKeiG training pages for further details.

1.Use more than one search tool
Different search tools have different coverage, search features and sort results differently. If you are doing in depth research use more than one to make sure you are covering all aspects and use a tool that is most appropriate for the type of information you require.

2. filetype: command
An important advanced search command that is available not only in Google but in many alternative search tools. Use the?‘filetype:’?command to limit your research to PowerPoint for presentations, spreadsheets for data and statistics, or PDF for research papers and industry/government reports.

For example:

home ownership UK filetype:xls

Make sure that filetype is all lower case and that there are no spaces before or after the colon.

Unlike Google, most of the alternative general search engines will automatically search for both the pre Office 2007 file extensions (xls, ppt, doc) as well as the current ones (xlsx, pptx, docx) regardless of whichever version you specify.

3. Behind the Headlines – NHS Choices
http://www.nhs.uk/news/Pages/NewsIndex.aspx
This is an excellent site for tracking down the truth and the research behind sensational, front page stories about medical breakthroughs. It explains in plain English what the background is behind the story and whether or not the claims made by the newspaper articles are valid.Behind_the_headines_2

4. Million Short http://millionshort.com/
If you are fed up with seeing the same results again and again give Million Short a try. Million Short enables you to remove the most popular websites from the results. Originally, as its name suggests, it removed the top 1 million but you can now choose to remove the top 100, 1000, 10K, 100K, or million from your search. The page that best answers your question might be on a site that is not be well optimised for search engines, or might cover a topic that is so specialised that it never makes it into the top results in Google or Bing.

There are filters to the left of the results enabling you to remove or restrict your results to ecommerce sites, sites with or without advertising, live chat sites and location. The sites that have been excluded are listed to the right of the results and you can, if you wish, view the excluded pages by site.

5. Carrot Search http://search.carrotsearch.com/carrot2-webapp/search
Carrot Search was nominated for the Top Tips for its clustering of results into topics (left hand side of the results screen) that enable you to filter and focus the search, as well as the visualisations of terms and concepts via the circles and “foam tree”. This is always a popular search tool with those who prefer visualisations rather than just text as a way of presenting and refining results. Click on the Circles and Foam Tree tabs at the top and to the left of the results.

6. Compound Interest http://www.compoundchem.com/
“Compound Interest is a site that aims to take a closer look at the chemical compounds we come across on a day-to-day basis. It also provides graphics for educational purposes, both for teacher and student use.” It is run by Andy Brunning, a chemistry teacher based in Cambridge.

Recent topics include:

The Chemistry of Camembert http://www.compoundchem.com/2016/02/10/the-chemistry-of-camembert/
Chemistry History: Teflon & Non-Stick Pans? http://www.compoundchem.com/2016/02/04/teflon/
The Chemistry of an Electric Guitar http://www.compoundchem.com/2015/11/24/guitar/

7. Internet Archive: Wayback Machine http://archive.org/
Want to see what was on a website a few years ago or trying to track down a document that seems to have vanished from the web? Try the Internet Archive. Enter the URL of the website or document and you should then see a calendar of the snapshots that are in the archive. Choose a date from the calendar to view the page. The archive does not have everything but it is worth a try. See also the UK National Archives of old government websites and pages at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/webarchive

8. UK Parliament http://www.parliament.uk/
Perfect for monitoring the progress of legislation through Parliament (http://www.parliament.uk/business/bills-and-legislation/). As well as following the progress of legislation you can view the documents associated with a Bill (explanatory notes, amendment papers, report stage procedures, select committee reports etc). RSS and email alerts are available for each Bill.

9. Tineye http://www.tineye.com/
Reverse image search tool for seeing where and when an image has been used. Either upload an image or enter an image URL. Sort the results by Best match (default), Most changed, Biggest image, Newest or Oldest. Browser plugins are available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE and Opera.

10. Search for images by license
If you want to be sure that you are allowed to use an image for a project use a search tool that enables you to search by license. Bing has a license filter in its image search so that you need only view those that have the appropriate license. Run your search and use the drop down menu under License in the menu bar across the top of the results to apply a copyright filter.

Always go to the page hosting the image to check that the license does apply to the image you want and not to another one on the same page. (Google Images has a similar option).

Flickr Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons) describes what the different licenses allow you to do and enables you to search for photos with that license.

Other tools that have Creative Commons or public domain images include:

Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/ ?(but do check the full information on each image as there may be copyright restrictions under some jurisdictions)
MorgueFile.com? http://www.morguefile.com/
Geograph http://www.geograph.org.uk/? “UK and Ireland photos of landmarks and buildings for every Ordnance Survey grid”
Nasa http://www.nasa.gov/

Flickr no longer allows easy deletion of automatic tags

UPDATE: Flickr have now restored the option to delete their automatically generated tags

Flickr no longer allows users to easily remove the automatically generated tags that it adds to photos. Flickr has been using?image recognition technology for a couple of years to automatically generate tags for users’ photos?but didn’t make them visible until May 2015. ?As well as new photos, the computer generated tags had?been added retrospectively to all previously uploaded photos. My own experience is that many ?of the tags are useless and some are totally wrong. See my earlier posting?Flickr pulls out all the stops with automatic tagging.

Flickr_Star_Anise_TagsUser generated tags are?in a grey box and Flickr’s automatic tags are in a white or light grey box.?As the tags are used by Flickr when searching for images it is important that they are correct, and it explains why Flickr search results often contain irrelevant images.

Until now, both users’ and Flickr’s tags could be deleted. Hover over a tag and a cross would appear in the upper right hand corner enabling you to delete that tag. The cross no longer appears on Flickr generated tags so they cannot be deleted that way. There is a work around which is to manually add a tag that is identical to the one you want to remove and then delete the tag you have just added. This also deletes the corresponding Flickr tag.

Several people have commented that there is an option under Settings, Privacy and Permissions ?that enables you to hide auto tags. This does exactly what it says on the tin:”hides” the tags. It does not remove them so they will still be used ?by Flickr’s search.