Bristol Community College

Bristol Community College
http://bristolcc.edu/

Boolean Searching

Boolean searching allows you to further define your search.
  • You can do this by adding topics using and, or and not between your search words. These are called Boolean Operators and they allow you to search more than one topic or type of information (such as an author and subject) at one time.

    Example:
    • The Word and can be used to limit a search to materials that include two or more search topics.
    • Use OR to retrieve records in which AT LEAST one of the search terms is present.
    • Any results containing the term after the word not will not be included in the results of the search.
    .
    Check out this video from YouTube that explains using and, or and not Boolean Searching using Ebsco's Academic Search Premier as the example database.

  • Using parentheses you can group your search terms into a specific search order.

    Example:
    • (teaching or training) and computers
    This will find materials with the words teaching or training first then will look at those entries for computers.
    .

  • You can also search for adjacent terms; words that you use together such as computer software as a phrase. It is possible to search adjacent words or phrases. In most databases, putting quotes around the words will retrieve search terms occurring next to each other in the order entered.

    Example:
    • "human resource management"
    • "special education"
    • "artificial intelligence"
    .

  • Wild cards allow you to search alternate spellings of a word or different words at one time. Wild cards allow you to search words that have slightly different spellings. Frequently a question mark (?) is used to indicate a wild card letter, but sometime search engines use an asterisk (*).

    Example:
    • wom?n
    This will search women and woman.
    .

  • Finally, you can truncate a word, telling the computer to search all words that start a certain way. Truncation allows you to search words that begin with similar letters, but end differently. Most catalogs and databases use an asterisk (*) or a question mark (?) to represent remaining letters.

    Example:
    • Manufactur*
    This will search manufacturing, manufacturer, manufacture, manufactures