Inver Hills Community College - IHCC

1. What are Boolean operators?

Jigsaw puzzle Connectors (Boolean operators) are used in keyword searches to link together two or more terms. The most commonly-used connectors are: AND and OR.

AND narrows a search; you get fewer records, because bothconcepts must be present in the records found--here the area in color. Use AND to combine different concepts in one search.

Graph for an AND search

OR broadens a search; you get more records because OR includes each of the concepts separately, as well as both concepts when found together. OR is often used to link together related concepts.

Graph for an OR search

2. What is nesting?


Russian nesting dolls


Nesting keeps concepts that are alike together and tells a search engine to search the terms in the parentheses first. Use parentheses to group concepts when you use two or more connectors.

alcohol AND (adolescents OR teenagers)

This search will retrieve records on alcohol and adolescents, as well as items on alcohol and teenagers.


3. What is truncation?

Joker   Truncation is like a wildcard. Added to the stem of a word, it will find that stem plus anything that comes after it. The symbol used to truncate a word depends upon the index, database, or Web search engine you are using.

psychol?will return records on psychology, psychological, psychologist.
? is used as the truncation symbol, for example, in MnPALS.  
environ*will return records on environment, environments, environmental. 
* is used as the truncation symbol in Expanded Academic ASAP and Academic Search Premier.
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