[R] How to google for R stuff?

Luc Villandre villandl at dms.umontreal.ca
Wed May 20 15:43:14 CEST 2009

Kynn Jones wrote:
> Hi!  I'm new to R programming, though I've been programming in other
> languages for years.
> One thing I find most frustrating about R is how difficult it is to use
> Google (or any other search tool) to look for answers to my R-related
> questions.  With languages with even slightly more distinctive names like
> Perl, Java, Python, Matlab, OCaml, etc., usually including the name of the
> language in the query is enough to ensure that the top hits are relevant.
>  But this trick does not work for R, because the letter R appears by itself
> in so many pages, that the chaff overwhelms the wheat, so to speak.
> So I'm curious to learn what strategies R users have found to get around
> this annoyance.
> TIA!
> KJ
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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Hi Kynn,

I've had this problem too in the beginning. Luckily, my personal 
experience has taught me that almost all relevant R-related information 
can be found either by searching directly through the archives of the 
different R-forums or by using the functions "RSiteSearch()" or 
"help.search()". The reference manuals provided with each package 
(easily accessible on CRAN) are also invaluable sources of information.

Unfortunately, phrasing queries in a way that will yield relevant 
results is sometimes hard. Knowledge of the terminology mostly comes 
from experience, so patience is in order.

Of course, as a last recourse, there's always the mailing list.

Bottom line is, I suggest you try to avoid generic search engines and 
concentrate your efforts on the different R-forums (note that there are 
also package-specific forums).

I suspect the more experienced R-users might have better strategies to 
propose though...

*Luc Villandré*
McGill University Health Center -
Montreal Children's Hospital Research Institute/

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