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More on using proper nouns for searching

Reviewing my last entry, I see that literal-minded readers may think that I’m saying that using a city name and last name are usually the best query terms. Not at all.

Sometimes, if a last name is very unusual, that’s all you need. Often a first and last name together in quotes (or with a dash between them) is enough. (Although watch out for criminals, who for legal reasons are often identified with their middle name or initial.) If the first and last name are common (as in the case of ‘Larry King’), then throwing in a city name will help narrow it down. Other times a corporation name or a song title or a sports team name will work as well. What do all these have in common? They’re names — aka, proper nouns.

Use what you’ve got — but just enough to create a unique query. Adding proper nouns beyond that may exclude useful results.

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