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Searching the Internet

There are several symbols you can use in conjunction with specific search terms to improve your success.

Symbol Use When Example
" " (quotation marks) You want to search for the complete phrase within the quotation marks. "Heisman Trophy Winner"
+ (plus sign) You want to make sure that every Web page in the list of results contains the following word. +Steve +Spurrier
- (minus sign) Search and exclude hits that contain the following word from the list of search results. Spurrier -Bowden (The list of results might contain pages about Steve Spurrier but not his rivalry with Bobby Bowden.)

Other Search Tips

Exclude very common words such as the, why, when, how, or where from your searches. Although these common terms won't interfere with your results, most Internet search engines ignore them if submitted. If one of these words is critical to your search, use the + sign before it.

Depending on the search engine you are using, you may be able to improve your search by using operators such as AND, OR, and NOT. These operators apply similar logic to the above symbols. For example, a search on "Washington NOT Seattle" would be equivalent to "Washington -Seattle" in most engines.

Many search engines feature complete instructions on using advanced search functionality. Some engines allow you to filter results based on the language of the content, the date the content was posted, and the geographical location of the host domain. Read site-specific instructions and practice using symbols and logic to enhance your searching success.

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