The key to being a savvy online searcher is to use common search techniques that you can apply to almost any database, including article databases, online catalogs and even commercial search engines.
This is important because searching library databases is a bit different from searching Google.
The techniques described in this section will enable you to quickly retrieve relevant information from the thousands of records in a database.
Boolean operators form the basis of mathematical sets and database logic.
Why use Boolean operators?
Use AND in a search to:
The purple triangle in the middle of the Venn diagram below represents the result set for this search. It is a small set using AND, the combination of all three search words.
Be aware: In many, but not all, databases, the AND is implied.
Use OR in a search to:
All three circles represent the result set for this search. It is a big set because any of those words are valid using the OR operator.
Use NOT in a search to:
Databases follow commands you type in and return results based on those commands. Be aware of the logical order in which words are connected when using Boolean operators:
Loyola University Chicago Libraries
Cudahy Library · 1032 W. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660 · 773.508.2632
Lewis Library · 25 E. Pearson St., Chicago, IL 60611 · 312.915.6622
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