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Last Updated: Jun 23, 2015 URL: http://cabrillo.libguides.com/content.php?pid=675492 Print Guide RSS Updates

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Search Tips -- Techniques you can use most anywhere

Each information resource has its own search methods for you to use, from point-and-click handholding to lots of refinement and focusing options for zeroing in on just the right information. One of the most powerful search tools is called Boolean searching, a fancy way of saying you can use AND, OR, and NOT logic.

Narrows a search, requiring more than one condition to be present. Broadens a search, used with synonyms or equivalent concepts. Narrows a search by excluding one or more terms. Use with caution...

This logic may look different in different search tools, but it always works as described above. You can often use parentheses to separate the concepts in your search to make sure the computer does not produce unintended results.

A few other key search techniques that can be used in many search tools:

  • Double-quotes, to force 2+ terms together (works almost everywhere)
    • "to be or not to be"
    • "someday I'm gonna get it right my life"
  • Truncation (often an asterisk), to search terms beginning with same letters (mostly catalogs & databases)
    • educat*
    • homeless*

Now let's see how these techniques can be used in various information sources:

  • Cabrillo Library Catalog, ProQuest & EBSCOhost databases: (california or oregon) and (exam* or test*) and "real estate"
  • Google search engine: california OR oregon exam OR test "real estate"

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In Google, and many other online search engines, you can use site: to search within a broad domain or specific website:

  • nursing site:edu
  • nursing site:cabrillo.edu

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