Google search on tablet.jpg

Improving search skills will save you time and result in more productive searches. The Google search engine provides a number of features to improve your searches in finding open access resources.


Mini learning challenge summary

Summary: Advanced searching
30 – 45 minutes

Start here

web resources

Stimulus resources



To identify and share two open resources using the Google advanced search operators in support of your research topic.


  1. Read the Google advanced search operators cheat sheet and try a few searches using the operators.
  2. Use the Google search operators (you enter these directly into the search text area) to:
    • Identify at least ten pdf documents which have Open Educational Resources in their titles. (Are they all accessible for download?)
    • Find a pdf version of the editorial entitled: Scholarship and literacies in a digital age (Who are the authors?).
    • Find the article with the following citation in text: the term digital literacies is contested with differing uses of the term revealing competing and even contradictory theoretical perspectives (Who is the author?)
  3. Visit the Google Advanced Search web interface:
    • Conduct a search for digital literacies and scan the results
    • Go back to the Google Advanced Search web interface and remove words from the search, for example “skills” or “school” and compare the results.
    • Click on tools and find results for the date range 1 May 2016 to 1 May 2017
    • Click on images and find versions which are licensed for reuse with modification (useful when sourcing images for your course blog with the necessary legal permissions for reuse).


web resources

Resource bank activity

To find, summarise and share two open resources in support of your research project.

  1. Identify keywords from your draft research question or topic area. (See Identify Keywords published by the University of California Santa Cruz, University Library.)
  2. Use your knowledge of Google advanced search operators to identify possible online resources in support of your research topic.
  3. Select the two best resources, log in to and click on “Add” link.
    • Complete the form adding the link, a short description and the recommended tags below for each resource. Be sure to mark your resource “Public”.
  4. If you have any questions, remember you can post these in the general course forum. If you know the answer to any questions, please help your fellow learners by posting advice and suggestions.

Searching using Google Scholar
Google Scholar ( is a good search engine to find scholarly publications. The downside is that Google Scholar does not distinguish between closed and open resources. However, search results which show a pdf next to the listing will probably provide access to a full text version.
Unpaywall is a free and legal way to identify authored-uploaded pdfs. There are extensions for the Chrome and Firefox open source browsers. Read the frequently asked questions for more information.

The resource bank is hosted at The system uses tags to search for related resources. Log in and vote for resources you find useful. Please use the following tags for this activity:
Required tags: : lida101, lida101a3-1
Suggested tags: : Use appropriate keywords (lowercase preferred) (or other descriptive tag(s))
Quicklink: : lida101