Boolean Search


A Boolean Search is when you combine search terms using the words “and” “or” “not”. A Boolean search will only work on databases like our school library search page. Boolean searches DO NOT work in Google!

OR


Use “OR” when you want results that include all the terms you are looking for.

The more terms, words or concepts you combine in a search with OR, the more results you will retrieve.

Often the words you combine with “OR” have similar meanings like “reptiles OR lizards.”

For example, the search below for “college” or “university” would give us ALL the results that included either “college” or “university”.


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AND


Use “AND” when you want to look for something that includes only both terms.

The more terms, words or concepts you combine in a search with AND, the fewer results you will retrieve.

Often the words you combine with AND are related because of the topic, but not similar in meaning. AND is also good to use when you are looking for a relationship between words or terms, like “rain fall AND flooding.”

For example, the search below for “poverty AND crime” would give us ONLY the results that included both the word “poverty” and the word “crime.”


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NOT



Use “not” when you want results that include ONLY ONE of the terms but not another term that might come up.

Often the words you combine with not are related because of the topic and you are trying to weed out unwanted information and narrow the results.

For example:
I'm interested in pets, but not dogs.
I’m interested in science, but not chemistry.
I’m interested in music but not country.

The search below for “cats NOT dogs” would give us ONLY results that included cats and none that included dogs.


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Information for this page was retrieved from http://www.internettutorials.net/boolean.asp on Oct 18, 2009.