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Here's a quick guide to some of the more useful search modifiers used in many of our library databases. Better searches and more useful results are achieved by successfully using the modifiers below.


AND associates search terms

This image shows an example search of dogs AND cats.  The results include an article titled Mean Dogs and House Cats but will not include articles titled 1)Cats and You and 2)Dogs are Great.


OR finds more

This image shows an example search of dogs OR cats.  The results include articles titled 1) Cats and You, 2) Means Dogs and House Cats, and 3) Dogs are great.


NOT drops

This image shows two example searches.  The first is dogs NOT cats.  Results include and article titled Dogs Are Great but do not include articles titled 1) Dogs, You, and Your Cats and 2) Mean Dogs and House Cats.  The second search example is cats NOT dogs.  These results include an article titled Cats and You but do not include articles titled 1) Mean Dogs and House Cats and 2) Dogs are Great for Cats.

Truncation *

Truncation works from the root of a word

(It doesn't work in Google Scholar)

This image shows how a search for cat* will find articles with the words 1) cats, 2) catwoman, and 3) catatonic.

Phrase Searching " "

Use quotes to tie words together

This image shows a phrase search, aka using quotes around words, for CAT scan and how the articles found must have that phrase in them.


Parentheses bring order to your awesome search

 dog* AND (bed OR kennel).  Results must have dog or some word with the root of dog as well as either 1) bed or 2) kennel.

Available in alternative formats upon request -- All images from The Noun Project: Bed by Francesco Ferraro, Brain by parkjisun, Cat by Cristiano Zoucas, cat scan machine by Sergey Demushkin, catwoman mask by Philip Zucker, Dog by Jeff Cont, dog house by Delsart Olivia, Pets by Anne Caroline Bittencourt Gonçalves