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Woksape Tipi - Academic/Public Library and Archives: ONLINE SEARCH TRICKS


BOOLEAN (and, or, not) & MATH SYMBOLS

BOOLEAN Searching Techniques

The power of Boolean searching is based on combinations of keywords with connecting terms called operators.

The three basic operators are the terms

AND, OR, and NOT


   The operator AND narrows a search by combining terms and retrieves every document that contains both of the words specified. When the computer searches its database and retrieves every record containing both of the words Internet and security, only the records WITH BOTH WORDS will be retrieved.

e.g. Internet AND security

 AND narrows a search by combining terms


The OR operator broadens or widens a search to include documents containing either keyword. The OR search is particularly useful when there are several common synonyms for a concept or variant spellings of a word.

e.g. weightlifting OR bodybuilding

 OR searches often produce large numbers of documents  


Combining search terms with the NOT operator narrows a search & excludes unwanted terms

e.g. gambling NOT lottery

Boolean search terms may be combined in various ways to refine searches

oceans OR lakes AND pollution

nurses AND malpractice NOT doctors

children NOT infants AND psychology


This guide was created by Denise English, Director of Library Services.


MATH  &  "Quotation Mark" SearchTechniques

 You may use + or as well as “ ”  marks to search for an exact word or phrase.   example:

 Oglala + Horse will make your search more specific. Oglala – Rosebud will decrease some of the general sources that might include both tribes.

 Quotation marks will look for the exact title or phrase you are requesting

 “tribal college library” will produce about  4,220 hits on Google whereas tribal college library entered without the quotation marks brought up more than 400,000 hits on Google.

 Check out the InfoPeople SEARCH TOOLS CHART for more tips on Boolean, + or -, and “”, AVAILABLE IN YOUR LIBRARY HANDBOOK.