Boolean operators allow you to search for combinations of words or phrases. Operators are used to broaden or narrow the search by combining words or phrases. Boolean searching can be used when searching the internet or online catalogs and databases; however, it is important to take notice of specific database requirements since many have their own Boolean template.
Boolean logic allows you to broaden or narrow your search by combing words or phrases using the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT.
The results of performing Boolean searches are illustrated by the diagrams below (called Venn diagrams). The diagrams show graphically how using the AND operator narrows a search, using OR broadens a search and using NOT excludes material from a search.
|Operator||Example Search||The search will find...||Venn diagram|
|AND||women AND marketing||items containing "women" and "marketing."
AND narrows a search, resulting in fewer hits.
|OR||global warming OR greenhouse effect||items containing either "global warming" or "greenhouse effect" or both.
OR broadens a search, resulting in more hits.
|NOT||Caribbean NOT Cuba||items containing "Mexico" but
NOT "New Mexico."
Caution! It's easy to exclude relevant items.
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