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When you need it (access to a legal database) the most you dont have it. This post helps you to use Google in such situations. If not researching otherwise also these tips could help you find better result for your queries more precisely in a shorter time span. So lets roll.

It sounds like math. Well, some of it is. Don’t worry about it, it’s not an exam. Just some tricks ;)
Many of you may probably attend some workshop regarding searching for the relevant legal material on the internet. Mostly on a paid database like Manupatra or Westlaw. We teach you to have the most of it, or rather the best of it, through one website which you check if your internet is working! Google!
Legal Research is an integral part of law school curriculum. There are several databases which make the task at hand much easier but then most of them don’t have a really good page rank algorithm.  Although Google is not a legal search engine but it surely makes life easier when you get the results you are looking for.
So let’s say you want to search something on “Legal Positivism’.
There we go and search “legal positivism”. Yes, within quotes. The moment you do that, you are encapsulating your search. You instruct google in very plain words that you want legal and positivism together, not like two hundred words apart. Yes use quotes to make a search of webpages using the exact search query otherwise Google will also give you result which though contain both ‘legal’ and ‘positivism’ but not together and several words apart. So frame your query accordingly. Also Google is case insensitive so it doesn’t matter whether you use Caps or not.
One more thing in a Google search query is that the first word is given the maximum weightage by Google.  So ‘Indian senior advocate’ (without quotes) will give a different result than ‘senior advocate Indian’ (without quotes). Now in our query “legal positivism” let’s say I don’t want stuff by Hart and Austin. So I could make the search query like this
Legal positivism -"John Austin" –Hart
Yes ‘-‘eliminates word which you don’t want in your search result. Don’t give space between the ‘-‘symbol and search query.
Now let’s say I only want stuff which was written between the period 1950 to 1900 so search query becomes
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990
Yes ‘..’ can be used to give a range whether it be year, money (40$..60$) anything else doesn’t matter.
Now, there could be chances that you want to read something authentic and not some blog written without any credentials. Colleges’ and university’s websites are a good source for that. One thing good about them is that they all end with .edu in their url address.  So our query becomes:-
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990 site:*.edu
Here * denotes all educational websites you could change it to *.gov or *.nic for governmental websites. If you want a specific website to be searched you could have something like this:
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990 site:stanford.edu
To conclude here’s the result
Original Query:
“legal positivism”
Boolean Query:
legal positivism -"John Austin" -Hart 1950..1990 site:stanford.edub2ap3_thumbnail_2.png
Also Google Scholar is a good place to search for academic material and all the above discussed Boolean operators work in it too.
Some other handy operator are define, filetype, around and *(Wildcard Operator)
Use define like this
Eg:- define: legal
and Google will define the word  
Use filetype like this
Query> + filetype:<filetype>
Eg:- legal positivism + filetype:ppt
And Google will only search for ppt on legal positivism.
There you go. Google at your disposal. Use it, its free!
Use *(Wildcard Operator) like this
Query * Remaining Query
Eg:- “all * converse”
Will give you result of ‘all star converse’, useful when you don’t remember the exact query. 
Use around like this
Query around(x) Query2
Eg:- Legal around(5) anthropology
Will give you result where Legal and anthropology are at a distance of 5 words or less.


Hope that was useful. This post was originally published here. Do pay a visit to the blog for more relevant stuff :)


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