Advanced searching

Advanced search

Many search engines provide 'advanced search' features, which can include 'operators' and other filters to narrow your searches and remove irrelevant material.

If you look at your search term 'large hadron collider' in Google [] you will see that the interface offers a number of options. You can narrow your search to 'videos' by selecting the option on the top menu. Selecting 'search tools' reveals drop down menus which enables you to narrow your search further and allows you to select duration, date uploaded, quality, closed captioned (or not), and choose from 6 hosting sites.

You can narrow your search even further by adding 'operators' to your search term. An operator is an instruction you type alongside your search term that tells the search engine how you want it to deal with your search request. There are a number of operators available, but the most useful in our search for a specific video is the 'site' operator.

The site operator restricts your search to a specific domain (e.g. will search within the Jisc Digital Media site only), a specific top level domain (e.g. will search within UK education sites only), or a country (site:uk). Note that there is no space between site, colon and term (e.g.

You may notice that your search term provides results that include all the words you have used, but not necessarily in the order you are looking for. If you are searching for a specific phrase or name, place your words within quotation marks (e.g. “Large Hadron Collider”).

You can further restrict your search by removing returns that include a specific word or phrase. In our example the search term - “Large Hadron Collider” - has returned a number of videos on the Imperial College website. If you want to exclude these videos you can place a minus symbol (hyphen) in front of Imperial to create a 'minus term' (e.g. “Large Hadron Collider” -imperial). Note that, again, there is no space between the minus symbol and the word or phrase.

results of Google search for large hadron collider in the domain except Imperial College

If you are uncertain about using these operators and filters, once you have added your initial search term and selected More>Videos, you can access Google's Advanced Video Search ( tool by selecting the 'gear' symbol on the right of the page and selecting 'Advanced Search' from the drop down menu.

Google's advanced video search page for 'large hadron collider'

Pros and cons

What are some of the pros and cons of using Google Video Search?


  • Google indexes videos from websites from around the world, and so you can find videos on almost every topic under the sun.
  • Video searching on Google is quick and easy, however ...


  • The videos you find via Google will have a range of copyright associated with them and only a small percentage will be free to re-use.
  • It can take time and effort to investigate the copyright status of any videos you are interested in reusing - you will have to visit the sites that the videos come from and look for copyright information. If you can't find this, you will need to contact the site owner to ask about the copyright of the video and then see if permission can be granted to use it in your work.
  • There are other videos held within databases that Google is unable to index. Some of these may be more relevant and useful than those found via Google.


Search engines such as Google may be a quick and easy way to find videos, but a lot of time and effort would be needed to establish the relevance and copyright status of these videos to enable you to use them in your work.

For this reason, it can be more efficient to use other specialist video sites to find copyright free videos, and we will cover this in the TOUR section.

Universities and colleges insist that their staff and students uphold copyright law. So you may get into trouble with your institution, as well as the owner of the video, if you use videos illegally.

See: Power Searching with Google online course (

Last modified: Monday, 31 March 2014, 11:28 AM