Answered By: Jennifer Harris Last Updated: Jun 02, 2016 Views: 177
Boolean searching is used to help find search results faster and with more precision. Boolean searching uses operators: words like AND, OR, and NOT. These are logic-based words that help search engines narrow down or broaden search results.
The Boolean operator AND tells a search engine that you want to find information about two (or more) search terms. For example, cats and dogs. This will narrow down your search results because the search engine will only bring back results that include both search terms.
The Boolean operator OR tells the search engine that you want to find information about either search term you've entered. For example, cats or felines. This will broaden your search results because the search engine will bring back any results that have either search term in them.
The Boolean operator NOT tells the search engine that you want to find information about the first search term, but nothing about the second. For example, cats not dogs. This will narrow down your research results because the search engine will bring back only resources about the first search term (cats), but exclude any resources that include the second search term (dogs).
- Narrowing down or broadening your search results by connecting search terms together using logic
- Making connections between keywords or emphasizing relationships between keywords when searching
- May bring back too many, too few, or irrelevant results if keywords are not carefully selected
- Not all databases handle Boolean operators in the same way (e.g. some support nesting, some databases support symbols like "&", etc.)
The library has several books and eBooks in our collection which can help answer your questions about Boolean searching. Check out the books and web resources below for additional information.
Helpful Books from the Library:
The Oxford Guide to Library Research by Thomas Mann
Decision Points : Boolean Logic for Computer Users and Beginning Online Searchers by Janaye Matteson Houghton and Robert S. Houghton
To find more books and eBooks on Boolean searching, please search the Multi-Search or the Online Library Catalog.
Helpful Web Resources:
These web resources may be helpful if you need help using Boolean searching. However, be sure to evaluate any sources you use--the Shapiro Library cannot vouch for the accuracy of information provided on external websites.
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