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
"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)