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Tips for Better Search Results

Tips Examples

Be specific

If you were interested in "the history, language and current location of the Ojibway people" you could search for: Ojibway history language location

  • Use nouns and unique words

  • Put the most important words first

  • Use multiple terms when possible

Use quotation marks around phrases so the search engine will search for the words as a phrase, not as separate words

To look for a term, rather than search the individual words in a term, use quotes around it:"Bureau of Indian Affairs"
Use quotation marks around phrases or individual words to require inclusion in a search (Without this, search engines often omit or revise your search terms without telling you) A word or a phrase in quotation marks must be present in all pages returned: Hopi "land claims"  
Hopi  "petroglyphs"

Use a minus sign - in front of a word to exclude it in a search

If you wanted pages on Apache but not the web server software you can prevent "web server" from being searched:
Apache  -"web server"  
Use connectors to indicate inclusion, exclusion, or word proximity. Some common logical operators include AND, OR, NOT. Iroquois AND constitution
Native Americans OR First Nations
indigenous -Australian
(minus sign acts as NOT)
Use parentheses around terms that are alike. Inuit and (traditions OR culture)
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