Web search engines like Google assume you want to search all terms you type in. Other web search engines rank by relevance - results with all terms come up first, then results with only one term. Library databases have more sophisticated search capabilities and requirements; you must specify how the system should deal with multiple terms.
Use the operators AND, OR or NOT to combine keywords or phrases.
||THE SEARCH WILL FIND
||Diagram of Results|
|items that contain both
"careers" and "medicine"
|items that contain either
"occupations" or "careers"
|items that contain
"assisted suicide" but not
A symbol at the end of a word stem provides for all variants on the word stem. The most commonly used symbol is the asterisk (*), but this varies among databases.
For example, a search for:
librar* will retrieve: library, libraries, librarian, etc.
Be careful not to truncate too far, or you will retrieve unrelated words!
A symbol within a word provides for all possible variants inside a word or word stem. The most commonly used symbol for internal truncation is #.
For example, a search for
wom#n will retrieve: woman, women
Look at online help for each database to determine the truncation symbols.
Some databases require a phrase to be in quotes. Ex: "higher education"
Content based on Duke University Guide to Library Research: Electronic Searching