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Reference Guide: Boolean Operators

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Boolean Operators

For the best results in searching databases for journal articles, use Boolean operators.

There are three Boolean operators - AND, OR, and NOT. Here's how they work:

homer AND odyssey - retrieves database records that include both "Homer" and "Odyssey"

homer OR odyssey - retrieves records that include either "Homer" or "Odyssey" (useful for retrieving words with multiple spellings or similar meanings: "theatre OR theater," "death penalty OR capital punishment")

homer NOT simpson - retrieves records that include "Homer" but not "Simpson"

homer AND (iliad OR odyssey) - retrieves records with "Homer" and either "Iliad" or "Odyssey"

To use AND and OR in the same search, you can use parentheses (as in algebra), or simply use the pull-down menu in an Advanced Search:

Another thing that may help is truncation, which retrieves multiple forms of a word. Methodis* retrieves "Methodism," "Methodist," "Methodists," etc. For most databases, the truncation symbol is an asterisk, though for the online catalog, it's a dollar sign - autis$ retrieves "autism," "autistic," etc.

Please ask a librarian if you want assistance. We're here to help you!

 

Reference & ILL Librarian

Arthur Robinson's picture
Arthur Robinson
Contact:
Office 706-880-8289
Ref. Desk 706-880-8957
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