Boolean operators


Above is the search screen from one of the online databases the Library subscribes to on your behalf. If you look closely, you will see that the option for “Boolean phrase” searching is set by default.

But what does this mean?

Well a Boolean search is a type of search allowing you to combine keywords with “operators” such as AND, OR and NOT in order to produce more relevant results:

Boolean operators

AND     to search for more than one word e.g. women AND equality
OR       to search for alternative words e.g. marketing OR advertising
NOT     to exclude words e.g. Atlantis NOT disney

If you were to open up EBSCOhost’s International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance (IBTD) and click on the drop down menus next to the second and third search lines in the screenshot above, you would find these three common operators given there for you to select from.

While I have typed in OR and AND in capital letters this is purely for demonstration purposes. The majority of databases will not care whether these operators are in lower or upper case. The one exception to this is Google/Google Scholar, where you are required to use an upper case OR.

Now let's turn to look at the use of Parantheses.

Last modified: Monday, 5 October 2015, 10:46 AM