Smooth Operators : Smooth Operators Or
(How to get the most from your databases) Keywords : Keywords Keywords are significant words or phrases that describe what the searcher is looking for.
Keywords can be an author’s name, a title, or a topic.
Keyword searches alone can be inefficient. They can turn up too much information or too little.
Operators added to keywords target information and prevent false drops. Operators : Operators Boolean (AND, OR, NOT)
Truncation and Wildcards (*, ?)
Exact Phrase (“ “)
Nesting ( () )
Proximity (N or W) Operators give special commands to the search engine. They include: Boolean AND : Boolean AND AND is used to narrow a search. It means
both terms must be present.
ie: education AND technology
In EBSCO databases, you must include the word
In Goolge AND is implied and ignored if you type it.
Many common words are ignored in Google. Type
+ directly in front of any common word you need to
include. ie: center +for public broadcasting.
In Yahoo the + sign is used instead of AND.
ie: education +technology Boolean OR : Boolean OR OR broadens a search. Either term can be included.
ie: puppies OR dogs
In EBSCO the OR term must be included.
In Google OR searches are done on the Advanced Search page in the box labeled “with at least one of the words”.
In Yahoo type OR in capital letters as with EBSCO. Boolean NOT : Boolean NOT NOT narrows a search by excluding words.
ie: dolphins NOT football
In EBSCO NOT is typed in front of the word to be exclude like the example above.
In Google and Yahoo - is used in front of the word to be excluded ie: dolphins –football. Truncation * : Truncation * Truncation allows you to search for the root of a word with several variations. Usually the symbol is an *.
ie: comput* finds computer and computing
EBSCO databases use the * as in the example.
In Google, the * is implied, Google will search within all the text to find the exact letter phrase.
Yahoo does not have a truncation function. Wildcards ? : Wildcards ? Wildcards work like truncation except they only replace one letter. The symbol is usually a ?.
ie: ne?t finds neat, next, nest
wom?n finds women, woman and womyn
In EBSCO databases, ? replaces one letter. In the above example, it will not return “net”.
Google ignores all punctuation so there is no wildcard searching.
Yahoo gives mixed results using ? for truncation.
Woman, and variations are returned along with a query, “Did you mean women?” Exact Phrase “ “ : Exact Phrase “ “ Exact phrases are identified by enclosing them in double quotation marks.
ie: “library school” finds only the enclosed phrase, not library and school.
In EBSCO databases and Google, the quotation marks work as in the example.
In Yahoo, quotation marks are ignored and the search is treated like an AND search. Nesting ( ) : Nesting ( ) Nesting is the use of parenthesis along with Boolean operators to refine your search.
ie: (dog or cat) AND (show or parade)
Without nesting, anything on dogs or cats or shows or parades will be returned.
EBSCO uses nesting as described.
Google and Yahoo do not recognize nesting. Limiters : Limiters Limiters are check boxes in a search engine that place limits on the search.
ie: check “full text only” in EBSCO to avoid citations with no article
EBSCO has a number of search limiters, including date range, full text, database name and more.
Google and Yahoo have limiters on their Advanced Search pages.
Yahoo has special shortcuts and meta words listed on their Search Tips page. Proximity Operators w n : Proximity Operators w n Search engines like Yahoo and Google do not use
proximity operators but many databases do.
In EBSCO databases, N (near) and W (within) allow you to search for words within a set distance of each other.
ie: tax N5 reform finds phrases with both words within 5 words of each other: “tax reform” or “reform of income tax”
ie: W5 works the same way but the words have to be in order: tax W5 reform would not find “reform of income tax” but would find “tax legislation for reform” Summary : Summary Search engines and Databases use many types of operators to help you refine your searching to:
Find specific information faster
Avoid wasting time with false drops
3. If you are still having trouble finding what you want, you can always ask for help at the library