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Database Search Tips

Truncating

OVID
$ used for all variations after the stem
adolescen$ will result in adolescence, adolescents, adolescent, etc.
$ with number may be used to specify the number of characters that may be used after the stem
cat$1 would result in cat or cats but not category
# may be used for one character only
wom#n for woman or women
cat# will result in cats but not cat
? may be used for one character or none
colo?r for color or colour
WebSPIRS (SilverPlatter)
* used for all variations after the stem
adolescen* will result in adolescence, adolescents, adolescent, etc.
? a wildcard which may be used for one character or none (may not be used as the first letter of a word)
wom?n for woman or women
colo?r for color or colour
FirstSearch
+ adds "s" or "es" to the end of a word
disease+ would result in disease or diseases
* used for all variations after the stem
adolescen* will result in adolescence, adolescents, adolescent, etc.
# may be used for one character only
wom#n for woman or women
? adds 0 to 9 characters
colo?r results in color, colour, colonizer, and colorimeter
PubMed
* used for all variations after the stem
JSTOR
+ used for singulars and plurals
disease+ would result in disease or diseases
cat+ would result in cat or cats
fox+ in fox or foxes
cry+ in cry or cries
life+ in life or lives
EBSCO
* used for all variations after the stem
? a wildcard which may be used for one character
wom?n for woman or women

Boolean Searching

Most Databases -- AND, OR, NOT
AND all the terms appear
blood pressure AND stroke
OR results in records with either term
teenagers OR adolescents
NOT results in records with the first term but not the second
hiv NOT children will result in records with the term hiv but not children
hiv NOT children will also eliminate records that include both adults and children
() parentheses will help group terms and limit the search
rabies AND (dogs OR cats) results in rabies and either dogs or cats
rabies AND dogs OR cats results in rabies and dogs and results in cats, but not necessarily rabies and cats

NOTE: In most cases the Boolean operators may be upper or lower case, although some databases such as Pubmed require that they always be entered upper case.
OVID -- AND, OR, NOT, ADJ, ADJ n, FREQ
ADJ not necessary for adjacency in OVID. When two or more words are separated by a space, Ovid assumes adjacency
chronic disease results in the same records as chronic ADJ disease
ADJ n ADJ used with a number results in search terms within n words of each other
physician ADJ5 relationship
FREQ results in records in which the search terms appear only the number specified
blood pressure.tx./freq=10 results in only the records in which blood pressure appears ten times in the full text field
WebSPIRS (SilverPlatter) -- AND, OR, NOT, ADJ, NEAR, WITH
ADJ terms are next to each other in a specified order
blood ADJ pressure
NEAR both search terms appear in the same sentence in any order
Add a number to establish how close the terms must be
language NEAR2 computer searches language within two words of computer in any order
WITH results in records with both search terms in the same field
blood WITH pressure gets records with both blood and pressure in a single field
FirstSearch -- AND, OR, NOT
PubMed -- AND, OR, NOT (Must be upper case)
JSTOR -- AND, OR, ANDNOT
AND all the terms appear
blood pressure AND stroke
OR either term appears
teenagers OR adolescents
ANDNOT the first term appears, but not the second
hiv ANDNOT children
sentence sentence("blood pressure", "stroke") finds blood pressure and stroke within the same sentence
words words(5, "blood pressure", "stroke") finds blood pressure within five words of stroke
page page("blood pressure", "stroke") finds blood pressure and stroke within the same page
EBSCO -- AND, OR, NOT, NEAR (N), WITHIN (W)
N computer N5 language finds computer language and language of computers
W computer W5 language finds computer language but not language of computers

Limiting the Search

Most databases allow for limiting a search in order to omit records that may be too old, in other languages, too broad, etc. Look for limits by year, language, subject or descriptor, author, title, document type, audience, etc.

If you have questions or comments about this research guide, please contact Kathlyn Behm, Science and Nursing Libarian, Lovejoy Library, at kbehm@siue.edu.