Expert Searching

PART 1:  Lost In Space


Image taken from Jerry James Stone


The Internet is a vast space, littered with information, the ‘good, the bad and the ugly”.  As Information Specialists, we must weave our way through the space junk, avoid meteor showers, asteroid belts (they can hurt), Black Holes (though at this stage of the Inquiry process, I’m still tempted to disappear into one), hostile planets (yes I’m talking about you Klingons) and fraudsters like Dr Smith, if there is a chance of landing on a planet which rewards us earthlings with the knowledge, information and capabilities to save Earth from self-annihilation.  Okay, maybe that’s a big ask for we Inquiry Learners.  But we can dream.

Back to the Internet.  Within the Web and its many vortexes, databases and websites are portals to information.  These portals speak to us with a language, which if learned and used correctly will quickly produce relevant, credible information at a faster speed, than if we were not to use it.  This language is called Boolean.

My attempt to become fluent in this language will be logged as I ‘expertly’ search the following tools of information discovery:


Google Scholar

A+ Education

ProQuest Education

I need to tread with some caution as with many languages, dialects do emerge which slightly change the roots.  With Boolean this is no different.  Each of the above tools use Boolean Operators, but with slight differences to the symbolic representation found in the written language.  For example, I thought I would be smart.  Surely someone somewhere has composed a nice little box divided into 4 columns detailing each of the above Google, Google scholar, A+ Education and Proquest and the how the Boolean operators are applied to each search.  I went to Google and searched Boolean Operators in Google AND Google Scholar AND A+ Education AND Proquest.  Sure enough up popped a plethora of prior and current student Blogs for this very Inquiry Module I’m producing my Blog for.

I really don’t want these results.  So, off I go again and repeat the search but add NOT blogs to the search and hit enter.  Exactly the same results even though I added the Boolean operator NOT.  What’s going on here?  Then it occurs to me.  Google does not use the Boolean NOT, but represents it with -directly next to the word.  Try again.  Same search with -Blogs.  This achieves the results I’m after.  No Blogs, however also no nice little Table which I can refer to during my expert searching.  Of course, there quite possibly is one out there amongst the stars, and I could continue to fine tune and expand my search into other quadrants, but this mission requires a focus.  I however, will add a table I have made to assist me in this continuing journey to the outer reaches of Internet Space – Earth time 2014.



Figure 1 Table of some of the search capabilities found and summarised

Forwards, to the task at hand – my Expert Search.

Are you still with me Mr Scott.  The journey must continue!

Image take from

Image take from




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