Limitations of advanced searching techniques on web search engines

Bernard Jansen, Caroline M. Eastman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


General purpose Web search engines can be a valuable tool to locate high quality information and can complement the use of specialized systems, such as LexisNexis or WestLaw. The effective use of Web search engines differs somewhat from that of other information retrieval systems and requires an understanding of search engine design and procedures before effective use. We present an overview of search engines and user behavior in Web searching as an introduction to a discussion of the effectiveness of using some of the advanced searching techniques common in other searching environments in Web searches. We empirically test the effectiveness on query operators for Web searching. The use of operators such as AND, OR, and PHRASE was found to have little or no difference on the number of relevant results retrieved for three major search engines, America Online, Google, and Microsoft Search.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-81
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Electronic Resources in Law Libraries
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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