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Basic Search Tools Plain-English Searches AND Searches OR Searches NOT Searches NEAR (or Proximity) Searches Nested Searches Wildcards (Truncation) Searches Stopwords Searching in Plain English

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basic search tools
Basic Search Tools
  • Plain-English Searches
  • AND Searches
  • OR Searches
  • NOT Searches
  • NEAR (or Proximity) Searches
  • Nested Searches
  • Wildcards (Truncation) Searches
  • Stopwords
searching in plain english
Searching in Plain English
  • Most of the leading search engines have developed techniques for Plain-English or Natural-language searching.
  • Plain-English or Natural-language searching: search whatever you want in your own language without using controlled vocabularies.
  • The hits most likely to be interest to you will appear at or near the top of the list. For instance, if you want to know where you can find Web search engine, you can just simply type “Where can I find “Web Search Engines”?”.
  • The Results of such searching is listed on next page.
and searches
AND Searches
  • AND Searches: to find Web sites that include references to keyword A and keyword B at same time.
  • For example: A=Renaissance, B=painting
  • Common Methods for doing AND searches:
    • Search for Renaissance AND painting
    • Search for +Renaissance +painting
    • Search for Renaissance painting and select “All the words” option.
or searches
OR Searches
  • OR Searches: to find Web sites that include references to either keyword A or keyword B, orboth keywords.
  • For example: A=Renaissance, B=painting
  • Common Methods for doing OR searches:
    • Search for Renaissance painting
    • Search for Renaissance OR painting
    • Search for Renaissance painting and select “Any of the Words” option
not searches
Not Searches
  • NOT Searches: to find Web sites that include references to one keyword A while excluding another keyword B.
  • For example: A=python, B=monty
  • Common Methods for doing NOT searches:
    • Search for python --monty
    • Search for python NOT monty
    • Search for python AND NOT monty
near or proximity searches
NEAR (or Proximity) Searches
  • NEAR Searches: to find Web sites that include references to two keywords or phrases in close proximity to one another.
  • For example: you want to find the Web site about Clinton’s foreign policy
  • Common Methods for doing NEAR searches:
    • Clinton NEAR “foreign policy” (Alta Vista Advanced Search defines it as within 10 words.)
    • Clinton NEAR“foreign policy” (Lycos Pro defines it as within 25 words but lets you change that with the addition of a forward slash and any number you choose: Clinton NEAR/5 “foreign policy” would expand the range to within 5 words).
nested searches created more complex queries
Nested Searches: Created more complex queries
  • Nested Searches: most search engines also allow you to create more complex queries by grouping AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR statements using parentheses:Canton NEAR (Ohio OR OH).
  • One search statement is “nested” within another.
  • Tips for doing Nested searches:
    • Keep them simple
    • Use them sparingly
    • Unique keywords combined with AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR often work better.
truncation searches using wildcards
Truncation Searches: Using Wildcards
  • Truncation search: using an asterisk to indicate that you want to look for variations on a particular word, like medic*, to find references to medical, medicine, medicinal, and medication.
  • Tips for truncation search:
    • Use truncation search to look for spelling variations and alternate word endings.
    • The truncation character is usually an asterisk: *
    • Use at least three letters along with wildcard character.
    • For best and fastest results, combine the truncation search term with at least one other unique keyword.
stopwords
Stopwords
  • Stopwords: are the words that search engines ignore because they are too common or because they are reserved for some special purpose.
  • Stopwords in phrases won’t be ignored by most search engines: “to be or not to be”.
  • To look for words that might be confused with Boolean operators, put them in double quotes: Portland NEAR “OR”.