Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Secret Side of Google and Google Scholar

Where would we be without Google? For every little question we have, Google is there to guide us to the right answer. But sometimes, a basic Google search just isn’t enough. Every student can relate to the frustration of searching through multiple pages of the search engine and not finding exactly what you need. Luckily, tblog1here are secret tips and tricks to upgrade your search to get more precise results.

Let’s say you can’t possibly wait to find out what happens in the next episode of Scandal –a quick Google search will get you filled in. You probably wouldn’t even have to use special search terms, just Scandal spoilers 2015 would provide ample results, but what about when Google lets you down? What do you do if aren’t finding your answer?  Let’s learn the art of tweaking your search terms to get a more specific search.
Here are some easy additions to the search bar that can completely change your reblog2sults:

Using a dash before a word will remove that word from the search results. If you wanted to searc
h for Scandal but leave out any possible spoilers that might come up, you would search Scandal -spoilers

~ This symbol allows for similar words to be included in the search results. Doing a search like TV ~schedule would also provide you with results on TV listings, TV guides, and other synonymous phrases.

An ellipsis can be used when searching for a range of numbers. For example, you could search Scandal news 2013…2015 to find a more broad range of information about the show’s past updates.

site: Site: is used to limit your search to a certain website domain. For example, let’s say that watching Scandal has gotten you interested in REAL politics. Maybe you think, “hey, I wonder who’s the real life White House Press Secretary?” You could search for information about the White House press secretary on government websites by limiting your search to site:gov


Google Scholar

For academic searches, Google usually doesn’t stack up. Whether the results are few and far between, or plentiful but unreliable, regular Google isn’t cut out for scholarly sources. This is where Google Scholar comes in.  Like Google’s more studious cousin, Google Scholar ( locates academic articles and other scholarly sources like books, theses, and court opinions. Google Scholar can also help generate citations for those tedious Reference pages.

Just like with Google searches, there are also advanced searches available for Google Scholar.

blog4Author: If you’re searching for works by a specific author, use “author:” at the beginning of your search to narrow down your search.


Intitle: Remember part of a source’s title but not the whole thing? Use “intitle:” followed by the key words you remember to find title’s including those words.

These are just a few ways that you can create more focused searches for academic papers or just for general research. Of course, you can always use Cook Library’s OneSearch and other databases, as well as course and subject gateways along with Google for a complete range of searches. Visit the library’s website:

Ada Leonard
A-LIST Student
Cook Library



Whatta Plan, Whatta Plan, Whatta Mighty Good Plan!


You have probably seen it in a T3 post, on a flyer, or even as a hold in your Student Center (in Peoplesoft). During the month of October, Academic Advising even asked students to tweet #IDCP to tell us what it is.  It’s out there, it’s been seen, yet many people still do not know what it is or what to do with it. Don’t worry, we’ll help you.

IDCP stands for Individualized Degree Completion Plan. This is the plan now required once of all students to complete and submit, indicating the courses to be taken during the semesters remaining to complete a bachelor’s degree at Towson University. This has become a university requirement as a result of Maryland Senate Bill 740, the Career and College Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013, and it will be a requirement for all University System of Maryland students.

The Individualized Degree Completion Plan takes into account not only the courses you need to complete, but also appropriate sequencing (prerequisites) and timing (offering) of the courses. Since it is individualized, the plan also takes into account your unique goals and needs—personal circumstances, employment, internships, Study Abroad, caretaking, etc. It is important to remember that the Individualized Degree Completion Plan really serves as a road map and can change depending on success in coursework, course availability, addition of or change in major/minor.

We have outlined cases where you might see the IDCP (Degree Completion Plan) hold show up on your account as well as tips for preparing a plan.


Ultimately, as you are approaching the 45-credit (or more) mark, here’s what you should be doing:

  • check out Towson’s online undergraduate catalog for the recommended plan of study for your major;

  • review your Academic Requirements Report to see which graduation requirements you have met and which you need to complete
  • go to the website of your College or Major Department to find information about how to file a Degree Completion Plan with your advisor or academic department.
  • Special note for students who are studying abroad or LHScanner3@towsonparticipating in a National Student Exchange this semester. Some academic departments require submission of the Degree Completion Plan to allow removal of the Academic Advising hold. Be sure to check with your Towson advisor about this requirement.

So now, if you see IDCP, in a T3 post, on a flyer, or in your Student Center, you not only know what it is, but what to do. Nobody plans to fail, but some people fail to plan.

Tricia Raysor
Academic Advising

%d bloggers like this: