Boolean operators are words (AND, NOT, OR) used to combine or exclude keywords in searching, which can yield more effective results. All databases have this capability within their advanced searching menu, or you can use them in the simple search bar. Google has this capability within its advanced search, but not its basic search.
AND: This operator tells your database that both keywords must be present in your keywords. This is good to narrow your search. Example: "New York City" AND subway limits your search on public transportation by location.
NOT: This operator tells your database to exclude a category of information from your keyword search. This is good to narrow your search. Example: "Martin Luther" NOT King limits your search without scrolling through pages of incorrect results.
OR: This operator tells your database to find several keywords at the same time. This is good to broaden your search. Example: dog OR puppy.
Other query modifiers:
- Quotation marks: putting quotation marks keeps the whole phrases or names together. If you search for "martin luther"
- Truncation: using an asterisk tells a database to ignore suffixes or prefixes. For example, teen* will pull teen, teens, teenagers, teenaged. *bee will pull bee, honeybee.