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Module 3: Searching

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3.6 Creating a Search Query

Phrases | logical operators | truncation | wild cards | nesting

Most databases don't understand the natural language we speak and need help understanding what we're looking for. For this, they require a special set of conventions, including:

Conventions Description
Quotation marks Around exact phrases (e.g. "university of washington")
Logical or Boolean operators Connecting words that narrow or broaden a search to include only what you need. Examples: OR, AND, NOT
Wildcards and truncation symbols
(* # ? !)
For terms that have variant forms of spelling or different possible endings.

Examples: child* for child, children, childhood, childish, etc.

Nesting Placing terms in parentheses to indicate separate units. (Like an equation, (A or B) not C

Databases and search engines apply these rules differently, so check HELP files to find out how to use them.

Click on the links below for a demonstration of each strategy. Select either an animated flash or a static image. They all pop-up in new windows.

Function Search Strategy Animation Image
Narrowing AND

NOT

Movie

Movie

Image

Image

Broadening OR

Wildcard

Movie

Movie

Image

Image

Combining Nesting Movie Image
Module 3
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Modules: 1 Information | 2 Topics | 3 Searching | 4 Locating | 5 Evaluating | 6 Sharing | 7 UI Catalog

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