Boolean Operators allow users to combine concepts in a keyword search of online catalogs or databases.
OR is used to expand your search.
AND is used to narrow search results.
NOT will exclude specific terms from your search results.
Truncation is the addition of a symbol (commonly the asterisk) at the ending of the root of a word. Using this technique will open up a search to include variants of the word.
Example: teach* will result in a search for 'teach', 'teacher', teachers', or 'teaching'
You may find it helpful to use a concept grid as you prepare to search an online database.
This is what a concept grid looks like:
* Note that you can also use parenthesis to create a search string:
(Concept #1 OR Synonym OR Synonym) AND (Concept #2 OR Synonym OR Synonym) AND (Concept #3 OR Synonym OR Synonym)
1. If stumped, do something else for awhile and then come back to your question.
2. Often there are different subject approaches, change gears and try another tack.
Example: Looking for early education information in France
3. When using an index to locate information, remember to look under all appropriate terms both narrow and broad.
Example: Looking for information on grandfathers clocks, looked under clocks but the information was really under furniture
4. Don't forget the obvious source, don't over think!
5. Remember that answering the patron's question might not give them the information they are really looking for. Conduct a good reference interview first.