These quick tutorials can help you learn to search more effectively.
Boolean searching involves connecting terms and concepts using the words "and", "or" and "not" in order to narrow or expand your search. If you use a phrase such as children with cancer, a database will most often look for that as a phrase and thus reduce the number of items significantly because it has to find those 3 words in a row. Therefore, you would want to use children and cancer instead because the database will look for those words anywhere in the record.
|Boolean Operator||Example||Reason to Use|
|AND||women AND military||To find items that have both terms and to DECREASE the number of items found.|
|OR||university OR college||Use for synonyms and to INCREASE the number of items found.|
|NOT||windows NOT Microsoft||To eliminate terms and concepts and to DECREASE the number of items found.|
When you search in library catalogs or databases for sources about your topic, keyword searching usually works fine, but may yield many off-topic hits. Instead of keyword, try subject searching, experimenting with various terms for your topic. Some of my favorite tips for doing good searches include…
These tips are all equally important for searching other types of databases, or even just doing a Google search. These are some of the key strategies that will make your searching better and not just basic.