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Library sandbox: Searching

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Searching 201

Boolean search is a common search language in many databases and even basic search engines like Google. It allows you to search beyond single words and refine your search terms.

  • AND allows you to combine two terms
    • "Social media" AND "celebrities"
  • OR will tell the database that either term is acceptable
    • "social media" OR facebook OR twitter
  • NOT will exclude words from your search and narrow your search
    • "social media" NOT "digital media"
  • " " are used for terms that are more than one word
    • "social media"
  • * is for truncation, it's good for words with multiple endings
    • celebrit* (would look for terms that start with celebrit-, things like celebrity, celebrities
  • ? and # can be used for wild card, or if you looking for words with multiple spellings
    • colo?r, for color, colour
    • wom!n, for woman, women
  • You can combine all these things to make much longer searches
    • ("social media" OR facebook OR twitter) AND celebrit*

Every database and site might use a slightly varied approach to these advanced searching techniques, check with the one your are using.