Once you have identified the keywords and phrases that describe your topic, the next step is to connect them in a logical way that the database will understand - this is accomplished with the use of Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT. Boolean operators connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your set of search results.
Databases and search engines such as Google make use of Boolean logic. Understanding how databases interpret your keywords will allow you to execute more specific searches, thereby saving you time while retrieving more relevant results. Boolean operators allow you to focus a search, particularly when your topic contains multiple search terms or concepts.
In many databases the Boolean operators are built into the search boxes. A database's Help pages will indicate how to construct Boolean searches and which wildcards the database supports.
Venn diagrams are helpful to visually illustrate how these operators can be used.
Use AND in a search to:
Use OR in a search to:
Use NOT in a search to: