Conducting Electronic Research

Using Boolean Search Terms

Named after 19th century mathematician George Boole, who developed theories for working with sets of information, a Boolean search allows you to define the relationships between keywords and phrases by using terms that enlarge or narrow the search. For example:

Search for: writing AND computers
Result: all records containing both writing and computers
Search for: writing OR computers
Result: all records containing either writing, computers or both
Search for: writing NOT computers
Result: all records containing writing but not computers

Boolean search terms can also be used in combination with each other to construct complex searches. For example:

Search for: writing OR composition AND computers NOT music
Result: all records containing either writing or composition and computers-but not music
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Introduction