BASICS OF KEYWORD SEARCHING 


 

1.  Operators AND, OR, NOT  combine terms using Boolean logic.

 

OR      Connects terms to retrieve every record in which either, both, or any one of the
            words appear, regardless of their position in the records. OR is usually used to combine
            like concepts, synonymous terms, or variant spellings.

 plagues  or pandemics or epidemics

                        H5N1 or avian flu

 

                     

AND   Connects terms to retrieve every record in which all of the specified words appear,
            regardless of their position in the records.  AND is usually used to combine unlike
            concepts.

"climate change" and extinction    

                                   

 

 

NOT  Excludes any words following NOT in the search  statements and retrieves records
            in which only the first term appears.  The NOT operator should be used with caution.

"artificial life"  not (computers or technology)

 

            Truman’s Library Catalog uses AND NOT.  
                                    "artificial life"  and not (computers or technology)                    

 
2.  Phrase searching    
    
When you type in a phrase, different things can happen.
       In Truman’s Library Catalog: 
                      chocolate chip cookies  will look for the words as a phrase in the title,
                                 and then AND the word--  chocolate and chip and cookies
       To search for a phrase, put it in quotes:
                     “chocolate chip cookies
 


3.  Truncation (*) enables you to search for portions of words.

                   communicat*  Retrieves communication, communicating, etc.

                           Note:  Truncation symbol varies with the database (* $ !).

 

4.  Nesting enables you to make complex searches.  Use parentheses to indicate which       terms should be searched together.

                   cancer and  (diet or nutrition or food)