--> Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Reference Guide: Boolean Operators

This guide serves as the home page for all things Reference at Lewis Library. Meet your reference librarians, learn about reference services available to you, and check out suggested resources and guides all from this page!

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.

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


Reference & ILL Librarian

Kelly Ansley's picture
Kelly Ansley
Frank & Laura Lewis Library
LaGrange College
601 Broad Street
LaGrange, GA 30240
© 2011 LaGrange College | 601 Broad Street, LaGrange, GA 30240 | www.lagrange.edu
Default/main header image used:Attribution Some rights reserved