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Library Research Skills for Land and Food Systems

Finding government information using Google

How can I use this? Power searching techniques in Google

Government websites can be difficult to navigate. You can use the power of Google to data mine into government websites.

Google domain searching

One of the most powerful search functions is Google’s site search. You can limit your search to just information from a specific domain or website using the Google command site:. For example, you can search for Canadian government website and content by searching site:. or British Columbian government content by searching



You can also combine phrases while using site:, as shown on the right. Note that the Boolean Operator 'AND' is implied in the search, meaning Google will look for pages that are in the specified web site containing both of the search phrases.



Google title searching

Another strategy for limiting your results is to force the word or phrase to be in the title of the document. For example, this search finds documents on BC government websites which have the phrase “food security” in the title ( intitle:"food security").


Advanced Google Operators for Grey Literature

Advanced search operators give you more control over what results Google returns:                           

Operator Description Example
“Search a phrase” Forces the specific word order    "This phrase only please"
"Word" Quotation marks around a word turns off synonyms & spell checking "kitten"
site:    searches a particular website ( or domain (.ca)
filetype: Searches for a particular filetype filetype:pdf
intitle: Searches only in the title intitle:"climate change"

For an excellent resource on searching with Google see the Google Advanced Power Searching page.