Wikipedia:Overreliance upon Google

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Overreliance upon Google sometimes occurs in determining and assessing notability for various topics and subjects on Wikipedia. Use of the Google search links in Wikipedia's {{Find sources}} template does not always provide all pertinent sources. However, sources can often be found by customizing search terms a bit and not relying only on Google. For more information about Google search limitations, see WP:GOOGLELIMITS.


Sometimes the default links in the {{find sources}} template atop AfD discussions and on article talk pages does not provide much coverage about a topic. Customizing Google searches to narrow results, using other search engines, and the general customization of search parameters often provides several and sometimes many additional reliable sources that are not included in basic Google searches using the Find sources template.

Search parameters[edit]

  • Boolean searches and other custom searches can provide links that are not available in default searches. Simply using quotation marks in searches (e.g. "Search topic") can significantly narrow search results, whereby only results that have the entire term are generated.
  • Customizing Google searches using the main Google page by simply adding "news" or "news," (both without quotation marks) and then the search term in quotation marks often provides more results than using the Google News link in the find sources template. Here's an example: news, "Search topic". It's often necessary to view several pages after the first page of search results when using this technique.
  • Google Advanced Search and other such advanced searches in various search engines can help to pinpoint coverage about topics.
  • To narrow searches to specific sites, here's something that works in Google searches (be sure to include the topic in quotation marks): "Search topic" This generates results only from the specified site.
  • To search within a top-level domain or generic top-level domain, a "site" parameter can be added. For example: "Search topic" site:*.ro lists websites under the .ro generic top-level domain.
  • Sometimes to omit results, adding a minus (-) sign and url addresses for unwanted sites can result in higher-relevance hits (or at least higher relevance hits per Wikipedia's notability standards, to omit sites that aren't valid for demonstrating topic notability) – e.g. "Search topic"

Additional search options[edit]

The {{Search for}} template
  • The {{Search for}} template provides advanced, extensive search options that are not available in the standard Find sources template. See the example at right.
  • The Indian English Newspapers Search can provide results that do not show up in Google searches, because Google sometimes does not index some Indian news websites. Additional search options are listed below. For more information, see WP:INDAFD.
  • Wikiprojects sometimes have their own custom Google search, to sort through every website they have agreed is a reliable source. This often shows ample results that a Google news archive search does not. See examples below.

More resources[edit]

  • The Wikipedia List of free online resources page provides many resources for source searching
  • The Wikipedia List of search engines article provides a list of additional search engines that can be utilized.
  • Books, magazines and newspapers not online, especially those in good public libraries.

See also[edit]