Law Library

Advanced Google features and Search Engine alternatives.


Melbourne Law School Law Library Guide

Advanced Google features and Search Engine alternatives.

This guide will help you get the most out of Google, and also use other search engines for specialist types of content.

Advanced search features in Google

Exact search – Use inverted commas around your search term:

Eg “Climate Change”.

Similar terms. Use the "~" symbol to return similar terms.

Eg ~plane

also searches for aircraft, flight, jet, etc.

Searching for a definition? Use the define operator – just type the word define in front of your search term, with a colon

Eg define:waterboarding.

Wildcard. The "*" symbol is a wildcard. This is useful if you're trying to find a phrase, but don't know a particular term in that phrase. If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown terms. It then tries to find the best matches

Eg Senate voted against the * bill.

Search web pages within a specific country. If you need to search web sites from a specific country, just type host and a semi colon, and then the domain country code.

Eg consumer law host: uk

Search web pages with a specific domain extension. Search within certain types of web site, by sector domain. You can use this to search by domain within education sector (.edu) websites, or any of the Government (.gov), information (.info) commercial (.com) or any other sector websites. Just type site and a semi colon, and then the domain country code

Eg site:edu

See Advanced search or GoogleGuide reference sheet for more features.


I want to search the web for scholarly or academic material?

Google Scholar will search scholarly articles indexed on the google search engine. Its limitations are that it does not cover large amounts of commercial material, does not provide equal coverage of all subject areas, and it doesn't necessarily retrieve the best articles. Articles are often not full text, though searches on University computers will give you access via the University subscriptions. It does not publish the list of titles it covers

Directory of Open Access Journals indexes and allows searching of many freely available Journals on the web. Broken up into subject sections, including a law section.


I want to search content of books online - Current or Old

Google Books includes scanned portions, or in some cases the complete text of books it can search. You can select full text for a very effective online book search.


I want to search Discussion Groups and Email List Postings and Newsgroups

Google Groups searches email posts from discussion groups and list serves, including their archives. Specialists/Experts in areas often discuss their concerns in email lists and discussion groups, and this information is not generally searchable through normal search engines. Once in the search engine, you can narrow down the search to specific lists that may be relevant to your legal topic.


Alternatives to Google

Dogpile is a meta search engine; it runs searches over a number of different search engines (including Google) and gives you all the results at once.

Yahoo is a search engine and also provides its traditional directory of sites, compiled by humans.

AllTheWeb is another popular rival to Google which will give good, relevant results.

Bing is Microsoft's Search Engine, featuring good travel information, a convenient preview pane and a sophisticated visual/image search,


I want to search Law Blogs

Justiasearches Law Blogs (or Blawgs). Simply go to the website, type in your term, and the results will show you blogs that have been written about your legal topic of interest. It is mainly US, though some has some other jurisdictions. It also has a great directory of law blogs, by category.

Technorati searches general Blogs.

Google Blogsearch searches a wide variety of blogs including law related ones.


I want to search law firm websites

Fee Fie Foe Firm – searches the websites of law firms for specific text. Enables you to find firms by type, country or specialisation.

Search US law firm websites

Search UK law firm websites

Search Australian Law firms websites


I want to find information from a Website that is no longer online

The Internet Archive aka The Wayback Machine, searches for old versions of web pages that are stored in its database, some of which may no longer be online. Useful to look at historical versions of websites. Searches by URL and keyword.


I want to search for Information about people

PIPL - Searches the web for an individual's contact information. Search by name, phone number, email etc.

Spock (aka Intelius) - Also gets good results, will show any contact and some biographical information about an individual that is online.


I want to search for Photos

Yahoo gives good results from a range of sources including Yahoo news.

Google Images is an advanced search enables to search by domain, duration, licence conditions and other features.

Ask is a image search engine that rates well in user tests.


I'm looking for current News

Google News searches 4,500 English-language news web pages worldwide. You can narrow down by region and it includes an historical search.

Yahoo News will keyword search across thousands of news sources, plus the Yahoo full coverage which includes human sorted news stories.

Avanova provides coverage from hundreds of different sources.

Note: The Library also has subscription databases that contain news archives


I want to search for a Video

Truveo searches video content on the web by categories, channels and search terms.

Blinkx allows you to select a wide variety of categories, plus keyword searches.

Note: Youtube only searches the videos on the Youtube website, it does not search the web


What if I still need help?

Ask a Librarian at the Law Library Information Desk for assistance with your specific question – we look forward to helping you!


Telephone: +61 3 8344 8913

This guide last updated on 8 April 2010








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