Don’t Save the String

booleanstrings Boolean 2 Comments

It’s funny that people in our industry would talk about Boolean Strings as if those strings were “heavy”, complex, and lasting. Just think “building a string”, “crafting a string” and “saved Boolean Strings”, “Boolean Strings storage”. Boolean Strings storage is serious business.

But you know what? Saving Google Boolean search strings is just like saving the sentences you say so that you can repeat them later. (Feel free to disagree).

Those of us with teenage children may have to repeat the same “string”, like “it’s time to get up”, “it’s time to get up”, “it’s time to get up”. (Can you relate?) But we don’t “reuse” things we say in real life. Knowing the language, we can phrase what we mean. Now, the “Boolean” language is simpler than any human language, so why spend the time saving and organizing “Strings”? (It’s not all black-and-white of course. Saving some notes on a search, or a long OR string of target companies, or sharing a search string with a colleague, as necessary, are all perfectly reasonable).

There is also an exception regarding the use of “saving Strings”, for novices – saving searches may help to learn the Boolean language. If we have just started to learn a foreign language, we may keep the top 10, or 300, expressions in a phrasebook or a language-learning app. But we can only say so much in a language until we learn it well enough to stop checking with “cheat sheets”.

Saved strings also don’t reflect the full scope of performed searches. There are always parameters and settings that are not reflected in the strings and may significantly affect the results. (Saving a search URL will take us to a closer – though still not “identical” – reproduction of a search.)

Why have I written the e-book “300 Best Boolean Strings” then? It is simple: the book is intended to explain how to search for a variety of social profiles and professional information, and the multiple strings are examples – they are not something to reuse. (The strings in the book are links you can follow, so the URL parameters are also “saved”.)

Expressions in a tourist phrasebook stay relevant for a long time. But Google search strings that produce desirable results change a lot. (Each new edition of the Book has required more than 25% of the queries to be rewritten.)

So here is a message to Saving Boolean Strings practitioners: consider dropping the practice, unless you have novices to train. If you do keep the Strings, remember that they are getting outdated as we speak.

 

Comments 2

  1. I follow your posts and often find the topics quite illuminating. However, I have to politely disagree with your assertion here. Rather than advising against saving Boolean strings, it might be best to advise against using the same strategies. For example, I find it useful to save strings so I can launch new searches by reusing the syntax, but changing the keywords. It can be a time saver not to retype “filetype:pdf”,”site:linked…” etc, so that you as the sourcer can be more agile in the search process.
    Platforms like the Boolean String Bank (www.booleanstringbank.com) and your book, “300 Best Boolean Strings” are valuable not only because they offer sourcers new ready-made Strings, but they highlight key syntax or novelty search approaches to all sourcers.
    Finally, the talent pool is constantly changing so running searches using the same string can unearth new candidates, albeit a small percentage. Platforms like Bool Connect (www.boolconnect.com) recognizes this fact and offers a way to filter and return only unique profiles whenever you run related searches.
    Generally, your assertion may be true in some cases, but phrasing the advice as a directive will cause readers to miss out on the benefits of learning from a body of saved strings, whether from others or their own.

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