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Hidden Treasures: Finding the Transportation Information You Need: Make the Most of Your Searches

Tips for Searching

Most of us search the Internet on a regular basis, and we have a good feel for how to go about building a search.  This page gives options for the times we don't find the information we need, including ways to refine and limit search results, test results for credibility and relevancy, and introducing sites that you may not have tried in the past. Keep in mind that most search engines and databases offer an advanced search option, which allows you to add limits to control the number of results.

No one database or search engine is going to be able to furnish all the available information on a specific topic, but making use of several different ones will give you a representative sampling. Don't reject a resource simply because you don't have full-text access to it; a librarian can usually furnish you a copy for non-profit use through interlibrary loans.


Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that relies on users to add and edit content.  There is a vetting process, and a number of institutions have established positions for Wikipedia editors, so its credibility has risen over the years. Be aware that their policy requires that "content is determined by previously published information rather than the beliefs or experiences of its editors", and does not allow for original research, which could limit the introduction of new ideas. Wikipedia is a good place to go to find basic information on a topic, but avoid using it as a primary resource.  Instead, go to the references listed at the bottom of the page, and gather your citable information from these.

Fee-Based Databases that Allow Searching

Using Search Engines

Most users are familiar and comfortable with the use of popular search engines such as Google and Bing.  They have relatively intuitive platforms, and allow for natural language searches, thus eliminating the need for building complex, stylized search strings.  There are drawbacks, however, not the least of which is the fact that the user is often met with choosing between tens of thousands - sometimes hundreds of thousands or more - hits that come back from a query.Use these tips to find the information most relevant to your needs.  NOTE: Many of these tips are not specific to search engines; they can be used with most search platforms.

Using Controlled Vocabularies and Expanding Your Search Terms

Topic-Specific Search Options

Finding Books and Publications