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How You Combine Search Terms Does Matter

    • The term AND links two or more concepts together. (This may appear as “all of these” on the search screen). This search requires the computer to limit search results to items with both terms, giving a smaller more precise result. Results are in green.

    • Oklahoma AND Cowboys: Only items that use both terms are retrieved. Oklahoma AND Cowboys: Only items that use both terms are retrieved.

    • Using OR (or “any of these” on the search screen) will enlarge your search results by allowing the computer to search for EITHER or BOTH terms. Results are in green.

    • Oklahoma AND Cowboys: Only items that use both terms are retrieved. Oklahoma AND Cowboys: Only items that use both terms are retrieved.

    • The term NOT allows you to eliminate irrelevant results by excluding certain terms. Results are in green.

    • Oklahoma AND Cowboys: Only items that use both terms are retrieved. Oklahoma AND Cowboys: Only items that use both terms are retrieved.

    • You can also search for multiple terms “as a phrase”. This creates a very precise search requiring words to appear together in exact order. It is useful if your topic has several words in sequence:
      • World Series
      • Abraham Lincoln
      • State of the Union
      • District of Columbia
      • Don’t ask don’t tell
    • You might expand your search by using a root word and a truncation symbol. In our catalog this is a ?, and it is a * in many databases. This allows you to search for several forms of the word at once:
      • Child, children = child*
      • Compute , computer, computers, computation = comput*
      • Manage, management, manager, managerial = manag*
    • Think of possible alternate spellings :
      • Archeology vs. archaeology
      • Advertize vs. advertise

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URL: http://www.library.okstate.edu/infolit/step2.htm
Last Updated: 1 Sept 2009