Harnessing the Power of Google
What Every Researcher Should Know
by Christopher C. Brown
June 2017, 134pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-5712-6
$55, £41, 46€, A79
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5713-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Everyone knows how to use Google to conduct research, right? Wrong! There’s much more to using this popular search engine than most people know.

This informative and practical book teaches how to get better and faster results from Internet searches and methods for maximizing the potential of the world's most popular search engine.

Mastering Internet research skills is a must for today’s information professionals and LIS students, as well as for educators and all high school and college students. But without specific instruction in how to conduct online research, people are destined to waste time in their Internet queries or to come up emptyhanded when the information they’re seeking is, in fact, available. Harnessing the Power of Google: What Every Researcher Should Know offers simple strategies that streamline research and improve anyone’s search results. It will specifically benefit information professionals, students, and academic researchers in disciplines like international studies, political science, and statistical research. Illustrated with helpful screen shots, this handbook will be an often-consulted desk reference and can serve as a workshop guide or supplementary reading in courses on online research skills.

The book starts with a review of general guidelines for searching that covers topics like the difference between primary and secondary sources, determining authority, citing sources, indexing, and ranking before addressing Google’s power-searching features, such as the ability to search by top-level Internet domain or file type. The book describes the history of information access over the past century, culminating in today’s digital information archives and how Google now augments—not replaces—what libraries provide. The three Google interfaces that together comprise a powerful toolkit are covered in detail: Google Web for finding primary source materials; Google Scholar for full text searching of scholarly, peer-reviewed material; and Google Books for searching the full text of a very high percentage of books.


  • Shows users how get to the specific information they need more quickly through the most effective use of Google Web, Google Scholar, and Google Books
  • Teaches power-searching techniques that are unknown to most Internet users
  • Includes sidebars that demonstrate specific applications of the "Three Googles" to academic research questions
  • Written by an active reference technology librarian with three decades of experience, and who helps undergraduate and graduate students in areas such as public policy, international studies, statistics, and government information on a daily basis
Christopher C. Brown is reference technology information librarian at the University of Denver Main Library. He has been providing reference services in academic settings since the mid-1980s. Brown is also an active government information librarian, having served for three years on the Depository Library Council, advising the Director of the U.S. Government Publishing Office. His research has taken him to Japan many times, where he complied a bibliography of the works of the United Nations Centre for Regional Development. As an active reference librarian, he enjoys daily consultations with undergraduate and graduate students in areas of public policy, international studies, statistics, and government information. Brown has been teaching as an affiliate faculty member in the University of Denver Library and Information Science program since 1999.


"The book’s overarching question is 'how do we think about information if it is not first categorized and normalized for us' through subject headings and similar guideposts. Brown’s goal is to provide an answer to that question by laying out a well-drawn roadmap that will enable students, researchers, teachers, professors, and librarians to confidently find, use, and cite authoritative primary and secondary sources using Google. As a business researcher, I find Brown’s book to be exceptionally helpful and confidence-building (even if my copy is by now a bit disfigured with multiple margin notes and highlights). It’s a must-have resource not only for academic librarians, but also for all serious researchers."—Infonista, September 12, 2017

"This title is more than just for a librarian audience, who through their professional degrees have some background in how Google does (and does not) work like a research database. . . . [H]elpful for the upper level undergraduate or new graduate student transitioning from using Google Web as a default tool for all research to a more nuanced researcher, utilizing many types of tools, including Google Web, as research context dictates."—ARBAonline, November 1, 2017
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