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Library Resources and Services for International Students

This page provides a short overview of some of the ways the library can help you during your time at Brown.

Getting Started

Most search engines will have a specific syntax and it's a good practice to look it up when you are a new user.

One commonality between many research databases is that you can be precise with your keywords and phrases. You do this by using Boolean operators to join the keywords and phrases in your search: AND, OR and NOT.

  • Education AND "liberal arts": this will search for all instances of the two keywords appearing at least once
  • Education OR "liberal arts": this will search for either of the two keywords appearing at least once
  • Education NOT "liberal arts": this will exclude all items that say "liberal arts"

NOT can be a tricky operator and you may inadvertently exclude results that are relevant by not considering how certain words might be used within contact. Use NOT sparingly.

Many databases also allow you to join words together using parentheses (). Here is an example of what that might look like in practice.

  • (cat OR feline) AND tuxedo

Advanced Google Searching

Google is a powerful search engine and learning a few methods to control your search results will save you time and help you become a better researcher. Google maintains a few separate, specialized search engines for patents, books, and scholarly literature too.

Here are a few common ways to limit, manipulate, and control your searches and links to more information on specialized search engines from Google.

Search a specific site

Put "site:" in front of a site or domain.

example: providence

Search for a specific file extension

Put "filetype:" in front of the type of file you are looking for.

example: biomedical market research filetype:pdf

Search for related sites

Put "related:" in front of a web address you already know.


Search for an exact match

Use " " quotations around keywords.

example: "tuxedo cat"

See also: Verbatim setting

Exclude words, sites, domains from your search

Put - in front of a word you want to leave out.

example: Apple leaf

Similar search operators are available in Bing and DuckDuckGo.

More Research Databases