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BC Search

Search Help

using google search

For most simple searches just typing a few words in the Google search box and hitting the GO button gives you the results you need.  Sometimes you may need to do a more specific search. Below are some tips you can use to refine a search using Google search syntax options.

Phrase search ("")  must contain

  • Putting double quotes around a set of words tells Google search to search for the exact words in that exact order with no variation. For example [“Coach Donahue”]  will not return anything containing Steve Donahue.

Search within a specific website (site:)

  • If you are in a large site like the Law School site and are searching for something in particular, searching within that specific website would avoid the unnecessary searches on other sites and puts its focus on the site you want. For example [cases site:www.bc.edu/schools/law] will search for the word “cases” in pages under the law site. No space is required after "site:"

Search for links to a specific page (link:)

  • Use "link:" followed by a web address (URL) to search for pages that link to that address.
    • For example:  "Link:www.bc.edu/studentservices"  finds pages at BC
              using the "studentservices" alias to link to the Student Services home
              page.

Search for pages whose web address contains a word or string of characters (inurl:)

  • Use "inurl:" followed by a word or string of characters to find pages whose web address (URL) contain those characters.
    • Example:  inurl:help
              This search will return a list of pages from around the BC web site that
              contain the word "help" in their web address (URL).

Terms you want to exclude(-) must not contain

  • Using the minus sign in your search indicates that you do not want the word or words to show up on the pages. For example [sports –basketball –football] returns pages containing the word “sports” that do not contain the words  “basketball” or “football.”

Search exactly as is (+)

  • Google employs synonyms automatically, so that it finds pages that mention, for example, "childcare" for the query [ child care ] (with a space), or California history for the query [ ca history ]. But sometimes Google helps out a little too much and gives you a synonym when you don't really want it. By attaching a + immediately before a word (remember, don't add a space after the +), you are telling Google to match that word precisely as you typed it.

Fill in the blanks (*)

  • If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches. For example the search [Google*] will give you results about many of Google's products like docs, mail, maps etc..

Google Search Official Docs