"Half the world's population has never made a phone call."
--Communications Representative, 1995
Electronic records, like print records, are organized
into separate fields. A typical web page is composed of the
fields: title, domain, host (or site), URL, and link. When information
is entered into a record's field, some search engines
allow you to retrieve it
the correct field label in combination with your search term(s).
Where available, field searching
on the Web is a very powerful tool. It allows you to specify
exactly where you want the search engine to look in the Web
The title appears in the blue banner at the very top of your
browser's window. If you know the subject of a page, it's a
good bet that important words describing that subject will
appear within its title. Searching for a keyword in the title
field, rather than as a keyword alone, will very likely produce more
title: "web search tutorial"
returns pages that have these words in the title.
(Title searches don't work very well with one word title entries.)
If you are seeking information from a particular kind of site,
you may choose to limit your field search to one of the
current top level domains (see below):
- edu -- educational site
- com -- commercial business site
- gov -- U.S. governmental/non-military site
- mil -- U.S. military sites and agencies
- net -- networks, internet service providers, organizations
- org -- U.S. non-profit organizations and others
EXAMPLE: domain:edu AND
"On the Origin of Species" AND
limits your search to educational sites dealing with Charles Darwin and
his theory of evolution.
Several search engines, in their advanced search option, allow
you to limit your search to a specific domain by the use of
drop-down menus. One,
SearchEdu, does it for
you by limiting its basic search option to the .edu domain exclusively.
If you are seeking information from a particular international
domain, you may choose to search the domain geographically
using the two-letter country code.
EXAMPLE: domain:UK AND "Edward de Vere 17th Earl of Oxford"
which limits your search to sites in the United Kingdom dealing with
the Shakespearean authorship question.
NOTE: Because the Internet was created in this country,
US was not originally assigned as a country letter code
to U.S. domain names;
however, it is used to designate state and local government
hosts, including many public schools and some community colleges.
have their own two letter codes as the final part
of their hostnames, e.g., UK for United Kingdom;
CA for Canada; FR for France, etc.
For a list of Internet Country Codes, go to:
ISO's List of Country Codes
If you are seeking information that resides on a specific
computer or server,
you can narrow your search with a "host" or "site" query.
returns pages hosted at the University of South Carolina.
If you are seeking a specific file, and that file's
name is part of the host site's URL, you may find it more quickly
by choosing a URL search.
returns sites in which the filename, bck2skol, (my old course for Internet
"newbies") is incorporated into the URL.
If you have a web page and would like to know who is linking
to it, or if you would like to see who is linking to a particular
page of interest, you may choose a LINK search.
returns pages with links to my campus of the University of South Carolina.
If you want to find a particular image on the web, you may choose
an IMAGE search. You will need to specify the image
by name, which works well if the name is part
of the image file name. If not, you may miss that
particular image altogether.
(Actually, I found the "dancing bones" logo that I use for this
tutorial with a Boolean search as follows: "free gifs" AND bones)
Other searchable fields include anchor, applet, object, text,
language, sound, pictures, and date. Date is a difficult one
because, depending upon the engine, a field
search on the date may return the date created, the last date
the page was updated, or
the date the page was "spidered."
Some field terms are written as complete words, some only consist of
a letter or two (e.g., title: or t: / url: or u:). This is followed by a colon and then the first keyword. Do not leave any spaces
field term, the colon, and the first keyword.
For some field searches, you need not enter the field terms
at all. They are already there on the advanced search page and all you need to do
is fill in the information. If you're not sure whether a search engine
supports field searching, locate its "about" link and read
Choose one of the EXAMPLES from above and try it as a search on
the "advanced" search page of
Google or any other search engine
that supports field searching.
[Table of Contents]
[Gateways & Databases]
[Evaluating Web Pages]
Last updated by E. Chamberlain, Thursday September 07, 2006