Stromness Academy Library

Books, reading and life in a school library

Using Google (& other search engines)


How often have you put a word or phrase or sentence into a search in Google or other search engine? Do you ask a question?  Do you get lots of irrelevant results when you do this?

When you search for words or phrases in a search engine, it searches for ALL the words except stop words.

horses and ponies of the British Isles

If you typed the above search into  a search engine you will get results for: horses; ponies; british; isles as well as combinations of those words. This means you may get a lot of irrelevant results. When searching for specific information you really need to be specific in your search. You also don’t need to type in words such as and; of; in; a; an; am; are; at; the; and so on as the search engine ignores them.

Use Eight Tips to Google Like a Pro, from the News Literacy Project. It will give you tips on effective searching in Google, but these tips usually apply in other search engines as well. (NB. See below for a list of alternatives to Google including ones that don’t track your data.)











Other Search Engines

You don’t always need to rely on Google, which actually tracks your browsing habits, sharing the information with advertisers and others. There are plenty of others out there. Why not try:

Bing – does collect your data

Duck Duck Go – Doesn’t track your searches.

Ecosia – donates 80% of its profits to planting trees.

Google Scholar – for academic and scholarly information.

Swisscows – Based in Switzerland. Shows related queries. Family friendly content. Treats your privacy seriously. Uses money earned through advertising to fund projects to provide food and education to disadvantage children in the likes of Haiti and Columbia.

The search engines below are called ‘Meta Search Engines’ as they pull results from the likes of Google, Bing, and other search engines in one place:



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