Although there are many search tools on the Internet, most of the following tips will only work with AltaVista.


Go to the Alta Vista web site at Read each section, try the strategy listed. Record your results! You can then redo the exercise using other search tools.
1. Use the "+" and the "-" operators between words or phrases
Prefix your search words with the "+"to indicate that they MUST occur in a page to be considered a hit, and use "-" to exclude pages. For example
stories +fiction
will find only pages that contain BOTH words. By adding an exclusion term as shown below, the number of hits drops will be greatly reduced.

2. Never us one word for a search. Use quotes for phrases. If you really want to find fiction stories (and not just pages with those words) put the request inside quotation marks. The search
"fiction stories" -science
will yield many fewer hits. It will be more manageable.

3. Use the "host" and "domain" keywords
Try looking for a specific word or word at just one website by using a search like this:
"George Washington" +host: (no space after host)
+"George Washington"
The first will find articles about George Washington published only at the White House website, and yields just 73 hits. The second, using Time For Kids found only 7 hits.
You can also exclude a website or an entire domain from a search or request only a specific domain.
+"George Washington" -domain: com (then exclude these) -domain: net -domain: org or if you only want sites that end in edu add +domain: edu
This example eliminates all documents from an entire domain (commercial), and the addition of other domains eliminates those as well.

4. Use the "title" keyboard
If you're looking for pages on a specific topic, instead of pages that just contain certain words, try limiting your search like so: (no space after title)
title:"Fiction Stories"
This often helps to weed out unwanted hits. The fact that someone bothered to categorize their page with a <TITLE> keyword should help you get better quality matching documents. Of course, some words will be specific to get results.

5. Use the "image" keyboard
Looking for a special photo or icon? Try something like this:
image: George Washinton.jpg
or click the "image" tab at the top of the Search Engine to request images

6. Use the "link" and "URL" keyboard
The "link" keyword finds pages that contain a link to another pages, and the "url" keyword finds pages with specific characters in the address. Here are some examples:
link: - finds pages linked to the official WhiteHouse site
url: language arts worksheets - finds pages with "language arts worksheet" in the address

7. Multimedia Searches
Searching for specific forms of multimedia on the Internet is relatively easy. In addition to identifying your major topic or theme, consider adding the file extension type to your search. For example, to locate a sound file for a wolf you might use

The extensions used for the various media formats may include:
.au, .aiff, .wav, .midi, .mp3, ra
.gif, .jpg, .tiff, .bmp
.mov, mpg, .movie, .moov, .avi, .rm
Test your browser's ability to handle various formats at: