boolean searching

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Post on 25-May-2015



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Boolean Searching Lecture and Tips for LIbrary 201


  • 1. The Primer


  • What it is: Boolean logic was developed by mathematician George Boole in the 1800s who pioneered the use of AND, OR, and NOT to filter information
  • Based on Booles Laws of Thought ,a general symbolic method of logical inference. Given any propositions involving any number of terms, Boole showed how, by the purely symbolic treatment of the premises, to draw any conclusion logically contained in those premises.


  • What it does: Using Boolean terms you can wade through piles of irrelevant data in minutes to find the one piece of information that you need.
  • Boolean logic has been used with computers almost from the day the first computer was invented, and it's still in use in today's ultra powerful search engines and databases.


  • ANDlooks for 2 or more things in the set of data anyplace they are found together
  • ORlooks for data any place an of the words are found whether together or separate
  • NOTlooks for the words preceding it, but excludes any instance of a word found after NOT


  • Cancer AND diet: All things about any can type of cancer and how diet affects it.68
  • Cancer OR diet All things about either cancer or diet or both3258
  • CancerNOTdiet everything about cancer and nothing with diet in it.2165

6. OR 3268 AND 68 NOT 2165 7.

  • By stringing words and phrases together you can target specific ideas
  • Phrases: Use quotes around 2 or more words Cancer treatments
  • One word and a phrase: Cancer treatment and women
  • Variations of a word use the truncation symbol(Note: this can vary depending on the search tool, in the library catalog it is a ? check the catalog or database HELP to be sure)Psychology, Psychologists, Psychological
  • Use Pysch?


  • 2 or more phrases: Use quotes around each phrase with a Boolean term in between Cancer treatments and United States
  • 2 or more Boolean operators and words or phrases: Use quotes to separate phrases, use parentheses to separate the Boolean terms, women and ("heart disease" or "breast cancer")
  • Use the truncation symbol to search for word variations, disease and treatment, 401, diseas? and treatments 663


  • I would like information on the effects of hypnosis on cancer treatments
  • Search Strategy: hypnosis and cancer
  • I want information on gender and age discrimination.
  • Search Strategy: gender discrimination and age discrimination


  • I want citations on job or employment discrimination as it relates to ones race
  • Search Strategy 1: race and (job discrimination or employment discrimination)
  • Search Strategy 2: ethnicity and (job discrimination or employment discrimination


  • I want citations on heart disease that excludes information on heart attacks
  • Search Strategy: heart disease not heart attacks
  • I want citations on variations of pollution (pollute, polluters, polluting) and the environment
  • Search Strategy:pollut? and environment


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