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Using Boolean Operators

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  1. Using Boolean Operators AND, OR, NOT, Parenthesis, NEAR Straughn High School

  2. Let get started! Searching the NET can be a daunting task. You could spend hours on an unfocused quest. The NET can be organized into sensible information by using search tools. Straughn High School

  3. Boolean Operator AND If you enter AND between two words then your search will only yield documents that contain both words, narrowing your search. If you enter goldfish AND guppies then your search will yield only documents with both words. Straughn High School

  4. Boolean Operator OR If you enter OR between two words then your search will look for either word (you don’t care which word), broadening your search. If you type in goldfish OR guppies in your search engine then your search will yield documents that contain the word goldfish or the word guppies. Straughn High School

  5. Boolean Operator NOT NOT tells the search engine to disregard those documents that contain a word. This is a powerful command and should be used sparingly. Straughn High School

  6. Why not Not? If you search goldfish and guppy and gets lots of information about swordtails, you might be tempted to try NOT swordtails. But what if the best authority on goldfish is an authority on swordtails, too? What if her name is Irma Swordtail? You could miss lots of information.

  7. Search engines do not read left to right. Most interpret the AND first, then follow with the OR. You can tell the search engine to interpret the OR first by typing (goldfish OR guppies) AND food . Don’t use ( ) when you’re only using AND. Boolean Operator Parenthesis( )

  8. Boolean Operator NEAR Narrow a search by using the term NEAR to retrieve only documents where the searched words appear close together. If you search for information on gray cats, and you type gray AND cats, documents describing cats that lived in gray houses, or slept on gray mats, or woke up and the day was gray might appear on the list. Straughn High School

  9. Now give it a try! Each search engine has different rules about upper and lower case letters and the use of Boolean operators. Check their directions. Try some experimental searches. Browse the results and make any necessary adjustments to the structure of your search words and operators. With a little practice, you can save hours of time in cyberspace and focus on the task at hand! Straughn High School