How to Search


Basic Searching

Basic Search is an ideal way to get started with your search. Just think of a word or phrase related to the information you’re looking for and type it into the search box.

Advanced Searching

You can use special terms, called Boolean operators, to build searches that combine and exclude the words and phrases that make up your search. Boolean searches allow you to combine words and phrases using the words AND, OR, NOT to limit, widen, or define your search. Good Web searchers should know how to use basic Boolean operators.


Boolean operators

Use AND to find documents that contain all the search terms you are looking for. Use AND to narrow your search.
Example: Internet AND Education Finds documents that have both the terms internet and education.

Use OR to find documents that contain any one of several search terms.
Use OR to expand your search.
Example: Internet OR education finds documents mentioning the Internet, as well as documents mentioning education, or documents mentioning the Internet and education.

Use NOT to exclude a search term. Use NOT to narrow your search.
Example: Internet NOT education finds documents regarding the Internet, removing those documents mentioning education.

Using Phrases to Refine Your Search

If you’re searching for a specific phrase, place your phrase in quotation marks (” “). This lets the database know you’re looking for documents where the words appear exactly in order.

Examples: If you’re searching for information on animal hospitals for your cat, type the following: “small animal hospital”


Using Wild Cards

If you want to search for part of a word or a whole word that may have several endings, use a “wildcard,” commonly an asterisk (*), though some search engines use other symbols. It will improve search results and save you time. For example:

A search for legislat* will find the terms legislate, legislates, legislator, legislators, legislation, or legislating.


If you need help accessing or using the databases contact the staff at the library.

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