This is the "Boolean Operators" page of the "Search Strategies" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Search Strategies  

Basics of searching any type of database - be it TigerCat, electronic resources, or Internet search engines.
Last Updated: Jan 6, 2010 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Boolean Operators Print Page

Boolean Operators

Boolean Logic consists of three main logical operators or connectors: AND, OR and NOT

Boolean Operator: AND Boolean AND
  • Finds sources containing two or more ideas
  • The database will only retrieve items containing both words
  • AND narrows your search
  • You can use AND many times in one search
  • Example shown: books AND censorship

Boolean Operator: OR Boolean OR
  • Use OR when searching for synonyms
  • OR tells the database that the words can be used interchangeably, so it will retrieve items containing either word
  • OR broadens your search to include synonyms and related words or even unrelated words
  • You can use OR many times in one search
  • Example shown: books OR films

Boolean Operators: AND and OR
  • Make a complex search using both AND and OR by placing parentheses around synonyms
  • Example: (electronic OR internet OR web) AND (vote OR voting)


Boolean Operator: NOT Boolean NOT
  • Use NOT when you wish to exclude records from your search results
  • Example shown: books NOT politics
  • Be careful when using NOT.  The term you want may be present in an important way in results that also contain the word you wish to avoid.

Ask A Librarian

Profile Image
Cynthia Peterson, M.L.S.
Contact Info
Jarrett Library Room 110
Send Email
Gibberin' Contact Information:

Loading  Loading...