Phrases | logical operators | truncation | wild cards | nesting
Most databases don't understand the natural language we speak and need help understanding what we're looking for. For this, they require a special set of conventions, including:
|Quotation marks||Around exact phrases (e.g. "Humboldt State University ")|
|Logical or Boolean operators||Connecting words that narrow or broaden a search to include only what you need. Examples: OR, AND, NOT|
Wildcards and truncation symbols
(* # ? !)
|For terms that have variant forms of spelling or different possible endings. Examples: child* for child, children, childhood, childish, etc.|
|Nesting||Placing terms in parentheses to indicate separate units. (Like an equation, (A or B) not C|
Databases and search engines apply these rules differently, so check HELP files to find out how to use them.
Click on the links below for a demonstration of each strategy. Select either an animated movie or a static image. For text only version, use image.
|Narrowing||AND||movie | image|
|NOT||movie | image|
|Broadening||OR||movie | image|
|Wildcard||movie | image|
|Combining||Nesting||movie | image|