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Government Documents and Resources: Finding government publications using Google

A guide to publications from all levels of government in Canada.

Google tips and tricks

Google has an exceptionally powerful set of operators and advanced search features that allow for more efficient searching if you know how to use them. As many government publications are freely available on the internet it is sometimes easier to use Google Advanced Search than to rely on the built-in search engines on government sites

Advanced Search Interface

The Advanced Search Interface allows you to build a specific query, including searching only specified sites, content from specific countries, or specific file types using a fillable form and drop-down menus. These results can be much more precise than a typical google search, giving you fewer and more relevant results by targeting the exact information you're looking for.

Search operators in a standard Google searcn

There are two main operators that are especially helpful to be added in a standard google search. Just create your search as normal, and add one or both of these to the end:

1) Filetype. Using "filetype:" followed by the file extension of the format your are interested in will return only results that feature those files. Government reports are typically published as pdfs, so "filetype:pdf" will allow you to get right to the document itself, instead of having to find it on the relevant site.

2) Site. You can use "site:" to search either a specific website, or a set of websites that share the same top level domain or final section in their URL. For example, "site:www.unbc.ca" will use Google to search just the UNBC website, while "site:gc.ca" will search all websites with URLs ending in gc.ca, limiting your results to federal government sites.