Boolean Operators

Looking for a way to enhance your Web searches?  Want results that are more sophisticated, effective, and streamlined?  Then try using Boolean operators during your next search.

What is Boolean?

Boolean logic is the use of AND, OR, and NOT to filter information.  It was conceived of by mathematician George Boole in the 1800s.  By using the basic definitions of AND, OR, and NOT, you can sort through lots of irrelevant data in minutes to find the specific information you need.  By using AND in a search you are telling the database that ALL search terms must be present in the resulting records.  The use of OR tells the database that ANY of your search terms can be present in the resulting records.  While NOT tells the database that the database to ignore concepts that may be implied by your search terms. 

Boolean Search Guides and Tutorials

Check out these tutorials for using Boolean operators on the Web, and in databases:

http://libguides.mit.edu/content.php?pid=36863&sid=271372

http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Boolean.pdf

http://www.ithacalibrary.com/sp/subjects/boolean

Also worth checking out is Boolify.org.  This is a simple online tool that helps users formulate a Boolean search using puzzle pieces, and it is a great resource for anyone who is not familiar with the ins and outs of Boolean searching.  Boolify.org is designed for use in school by children, and uses the Google Safe Search engine so keep in mind that results are filtered if you are unable to find some information using Boolify.org.  

This entry was posted by Lori Willis-Richards on Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 at 12:45 pm and is filed under Library Helpful Hints . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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