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Searching quantitative data for historians: 4. Via internet


Using Google at the start of a search for data can be a tedious, time-consuming and fruitless task. Without having a specific topic to search for data, we can only give you very generic keywords or filters which can lead to datasets. Make sure you search with keywords as specific and as varied as possible. 

  • Start tracking datasets mentioned in secondary sources (see tab 2. Via secondary sources)
  • Check WorldCat when datasets are mentioned in the secondary sources as published in print. Use the title of the print publication between quoting marks  
  • Check plain Google when datasets are mentioned in the secondary sources without a link. Use the title of the source between quoting marks.

Tracking datasets via Google

Use Google to track datasets. It requires advanced searching skills.

1. By title of a secondary source or of a dataset when known (using quotation marks). 

2. Combining your topic with keywords
You can try a search combining your topic with even more data related keywords. Some examples: 

  • data set, dataset, data base, database, data bank, databank.
  • statistical, quantitative, empirical, numeric.
  • visualisation, visualization, graph, chart, table, figure.

2. Combining your topic with format types
In simple search mode, you can search by type of document with "Type:" in front of an extension (TYPE:xls). You can combine with a longer string of possible format for datasets (TYPE:xls TYPE:csv). In advanced search mode, tick the boxes by format type.

 3. Searching in Google Images with your topic to track data visualizations.


Search engine collects data linked to open content on the web, like numerical data in graphics and tables. 
Examples: a chart in een PDF document, a table in ExCel, a barchart in a HTML page
You track what kind of data is used in publications and web pages about a certain topic. It often leads to the source of the original data.
To access documents, Zanran asks you to register for free with your name and email adress. You won't get a confirmation mail.
To avoid to have to register, use Zanran to track documents. Then copy their url into your browser to access the document.