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Article Search Tips: Boolean Search: AND, OR, NOT

This guide provides tips that can be used when searching for articles in databases; including how to locate the full text of articles.

All About Boolean

BOOLEAN OPERATORS: AND, OR, NOT

 

  • Use to create a more complex search in order to find the best selection of items
  • AND narrows the search and retrieves records containing all the words it separates

  • OR broadens the search and retrieves records containing any of the words it separates

  • NOT narrows the search and retrieves records that do not contain the word following it; in some databases you may see this term listed as AND NOT

 

USING IN DATABASES

  • Many databases will have the terms listed in drop down boxes located next to the search box
  • These are usually found on the Advanced Search screen
  • In other databases you can create a search using the terms as needed
  • Capitalize the words when creating your own search - not all databases require this, but some do, so if you always CAPITALIZE it will work

 

See the examples below

Normal Search

A NORMAL search will find any articles with the word Dogs regardless of what other words may also be in the article.

Search for

dogs

 

The search will retrieve these:

  • Dogs rule the world together with cats in perfect harmony.
  • Dogs rule the world.

But not this:

  • Cats rule the world.

filled circle

AND Search

An AND search will find articles with the word Dogs and with the word Cats together, but not separately.

Search for

dogs AND cats

 

The search will retrieve this:

  • Dogs rule the world together with cats in perfect harmony.

But not these:

  • Cats rule the world.
  • Dogs rule the world.

AND

OR Search

An OR search will find articles with the word Dogs, with the word Cats, and with the words Dogs and Cats.

Search for

dogs OR cats

 

The search will retrieve all three articles:

  • Dogs rule the world together with cats in perfect harmony.
  • Dogs rule the world.
  • Cats rule the world.

 

OR

NOT search

A NOT search will find the articles with the word Dogs in it, but won't find any articles with the word cats (even if dogs is in the article with cats.)

Search for

dogs NOT cats

 

The search will retrieve this:

  • Dogs rule the world.

But not these:

  • Cats rule the world.
  • Dogs rule the world together with cats in perfect harmony.

NOT

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