Need help with searching databases? This page give you an overview of the basics of searching databases. Each database is a little unique, which is why we have pages designed specifically for each database. But, generally, they have some of the same principles. Below you'll find general principles that work in most databases. Keep in mind, most databases have "Help" menus that can aid you as well.
Boolean Searching happens when you use one or more boolean operators to conduct a search. A boolean operator is usually a conjunction that is used to limit or expand how the search terms in your search should be used. Important: There must always be one more search term than boolean operators for a successful boolean search.
Common Boolean Operators
Most databases will have some sort of help menu to tell you what boolean operators work in their databases.There is an order of primacy to boolean searching. This means that whenever certain boolean operators are used, regardless of the order, the database will always conduct certain operators before others. Below you will find the most common boolean operators that databases use with a brief explanation of how they function. They are listed in the order of their primacy.