Boolean Search Operators

Boolean Commands Explained...

Boolean logic commands are accepted by most search engines and searchable data bases to help the researcher search more efficiently.  In a nutshell, here is how they work:

1.  "  " (quotation marks)

Indicates exact multiple-word phrases.  Without quotation marks, the search engine may assume that the phrase is a list of separate query terms.

                "China Cat Sunflower" will return a list of Web pages containing that exact phrase.  In contrast, the query, China Cat Sunflower (without quotes) might return pages containing the words China, cat, and sunflower not necessarily in that order.

2.  AND

Connects two or more search terms all of which must appear on each web page on the results list.  Be sure to use capital AND.  Most (but not all) search sites assume this operator by default.  (Notice that the quotation marks are also used below; Boolean Search commands can be used together to maximize their effectiveness.)

               "Buddy Guy" AND "hall of fame"

3.  OR

Connects two or more words, at least one of which should appear on each Web page returned by the query.  This is a good way to connect synonyms or alternate spellings.  Be sure to use capital OR.

                "Ringo Starr" OR "Richard Starkey"

4.   NOT

Is used much like the minus sign to exclude words.  For some engines, it must be used with AND or OR.  Be sure to use capital NOT.

         "Ringo Starr" NOT Beatles

 5.  + (plus sign -- no space before first letter)

Use it to mark words that must appear in each Web page.  If there is no plus sign, the word can be considered a request, not a requirement (particularly if there is a string of words)

               +Elvis Presley:  This will require that Elvis appears, but Presley will be a request.

6.  - (minus sign -- no space before first letter)

Marks words that cannot appear in any Web page on the results list.  Use this to exclude pages containing a particular word.

           +Elvis -Costello:  This will request Elvis, but exclude anything on Elvis Costello.

 7.  * (wild card or truncation -- no spaces around asterisk)

Some search engines will assume automatic truncation and search on the root plus endings. 

         A query for theat* might help find searches for theatre or theater or any plural forms of either word.

 8.  NEAR  

NEAR indicates that two or more words or phrases (can be used with other Boolean commands above) must appear near one another on a web page.  This works quite well with today's spider search tools. 

14 Google Search Tips 
Define A Word - Type define: followed by the word you want.

Search For Words In Exact Order - Put your search phrase inside quotation marks.

Search For Related Words - Put the tilde (~) in front of the search term.

Exclude Certain Words - Put the minus sign (-) in front of the search term.

Search Within A Range Of Prices - Separate the lowest and highest prices you're willing to pay with two periods (..). This trick also works for dates.

Search Within A Website - Type site: followed by the URL of the website you'd like to search. Then add your search terms. 

Fill In The Blanks - Enter your search terms using asterisks as stand-ins for the unknowns.

Search By File Type - Enter your search terms followed by filetype: then add the extension of the file type you are searching for (i.e. PDF, PPT, etc.).

Set A Timer - Type "set timer for" into the search bar and a Google timer will appear as the first result. Enter the time you want in hours, minutes or seconds and start the timer.

Do Math - Type in an equation and Google will give you the answer on its calculator.

Convert Currency - Type in the name of the currency you currently own, add "to" and then type in the name of the currency you need to get.

Find A GIF - Go to Google Images. Click "Search tools" and then "Type." Then check off "Animated."

Search By Title - Type intitle: then the term you want in the title.

Make Google Flip Out - Type "do a barrel roll" and hit enter. 
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  Jan 13, 2014, 8:19 AM Gregg Hilker

  Jan 13, 2014, 8:20 AM Gregg Hilker