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RAMS 101: Stephens

Using Google to search the open web

The open web is a term used for online content that is freely available. Google is a great way to discover content on the open web, but you must use a critical eye when evaluating content. Check out the evaluating sources tab for more information on how to evaluate content. Below are some tips for more efficiently searching Google.

Google Search Tips

Below are some particularly useful search commands for searching in Google


What it does: Searches within a specific site or domain. Useful for locating information from specific government organizations. Also useful for locating materials more generally from .gov or .edu domains. 

Examples: or

Notes: Be careful if searching for Not all websites that end in .edu are universities or other educational institutions, the domain can be used by anyone. 


What it does: Searches for specific file types. Useful for looking for reports, white papers, working papers, or factsheets. 

Examples: filetype:pdf

Notes: There may be information you are missing if you limit to one filetype! 

Additional Examples

Example search: Lyme disease filetype:pdf

What it retrieves: This search retrieves pdf files published to the web on the WHO website. 

Example search: bt corn

What it retrieves: This search retrieves any information on bt corn on the USDA website.