What is Boolean searching and how do I use it?

Where can I find information on Boolean search techniques? How do I conduct a Boolean search?

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2022     Views: 6

Boolean logic defines logical relationships between terms in a search. The Boolean search operators are and, or and not. You can use these operators to create a very broad or very narrow search. 

And combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms.

For example, travel and Europe finds articles that contain both travel and Europe. 
 

Or combines search terms so that each search result contains at least one of the terms.

For example, college or university finds articles that contain either college or university. 
 

Not excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it.

For example, television not cable finds articles that contain television but not cable. 

Note: When executing a search, And takes precedence over Or. 

The following table illustrates the operation of Boolean terms: 

And Or Not
Each result contains all search terms. Each result contains at least one search term. Results do not contain the specified search term.
The search heart and lung finds items that contain both heart and lung. The search heart or lung finds items that contain either heart or items that contain lung. The search heart not lung finds items that contain heart but do not contain lung.

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