Creating Advanced Searches

To retrieve more focused results, use one or more of the following advanced search techniques in your queries.

 

 Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT/AND NOT)

Boolean operators are useful for incorporating logic to your query. All Boolean operators must be typed in ALL CAPS.

  • To match all words you enter, use AND between words:

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Note: The default search behavior considers all words in a query, so explicitly using the AND operator is not necessary. Hence:

This query:
2011 US Open Tennis

Returns the same results as:
2011 AND US AND Open AND Tennis

Star AND Jones
Star Jones
Finds articles containing the words Star and Jones.

  • To match any words you enter, use OR (or the | symbol) between words:

sun OR moon OR stars
sun|moon|stars
Finds articles containing any of these words: sun or moon or stars.

  • To exclude a word from the search, use NOT or AND NOT (or the - symbol) before the word:

NOT Obama AND NASA
-Obama NASA
Finds articles containing the word NASA (such as
NASA exploration plan), but excluding the word Obama (such as Obama approves the NASA exploration plan).

strike AND NOT basketball
strike -basketball
Finds articles containing the word strike (such as a transit strike or airline strike) but not items with the words strike and basketball (such as basketball strike).

 

 Wildcard Operator (*)

The wildcard operator is useful when you are not sure of a term's spelling or exact name. Enter as much information into the search boxes as you can, using the wildcard to finish the query.

*ploy*
Finds: deployed, deployment, employer, employee, etc.

You can use the wildcard within a multiple term search query to treat the wildcard as a placeholder for any unknown term(s).

Microsoft *
Finds articles about many of Microsoft's products.

Obama voted * on the * bill
Finds articles about different votes from Obama on different bills.

 

 Exact Phrase Operator (" ")

To search for an exact name or phrase (preventing word expansion or stemming), surround it with quotation marks ("."). The text string must match to find results.

For example, entering "child psychology magazine" would not match children's psychology magazine because "child" is not expanded to children's. Similarly, psychology of a child would not match the query, because the terms child and psychology are out of order.

To prevent the expansion of multiple words, but avoid the word-order constraint, enclose each word separately.

For example, enter "Justice" "Department" to find Justice Department and Department of Justice.

You also can use quotation marks around phrases in queries to restrict the desired word order.

For example, entering child psychology would match psychology of a child,
but entering "child psychology" would not match psychology of a child because of the word-order constraint.

However, be aware that you may limit your results too much.

For example, entering "Alexander Bell" will not find articles that refer to Alexander G. Bell or Alexander Graham Bell.

 

 Search As-Is Operator (+)

The search as-is operator is useful when you do not want synonyms used automatically or to force the search engine to use stop words in a search. The search engine sometimes helps out too much, so you may not want to receive the following results:

child birth (with a space)
Finding articles on childbirth, or...

ca history
Finding articles on California history, camping history or the history of calculus.

Use + immediately before a word (without a space in between) to find that word precisely as you typed it (this is the same as using double-quotes (" ") around a single word):

+ca history
"ca" history
Finds articles on California (CA) history or the history of CA Technologies.

 

 Similar Term Operator (~)

The similar term operator is useful to find articles with similar terms. For example:

~dumb little man -dumb
Finds articles that contain
funny little man and stupid little man, but not exactly the phrase dumb little man.

Kaplan Test ~tutorial
Finds articles that contain
Kaplan Test tutorial, Kaplan Test reference, Kaplan Test guide, etc.

 

 Numeric Ranges (#..#)

The numeric range operator (note that two periods are used) is useful for finding articles about a topic within a specific year range. For example:

Obama Health Care Plan 2008..2010
Finds articles about the Obama Health Care Plan that were published from 2008 through 2010.

Numeric Ranges can also be used for finding articles about an item within a specific price range. For example:

nikon $400..$500
Finds all Nikon equipment within the $400 to $500 price range.