Skip to Main Content

Boolean Searching: Home

Quick Study Guide that describes how to conduct a Boolean search in library databases

Library Skills Videos

Asking a Librarian

Paul Graham, University Librarian

Email Paul Graham (AST)

Subject Liaison: Creative Arts, Education, Psychology

Kathy Coorsh, Academic Librarian

Email Kathy Coorsh (EST)

Subject Liaison: Business, Interior Design/Decorating & General Studies

Nell Beaudry, Academic Librarian

Email Nell Beaudry (PST)

Subject Liaison: Business, Library Instruction, Information Literacy, Psychology

Melissa Discola, Library Technician

Email Melissa Discola (EST)

Subject Liaison: Textbook Management & Administration

Sarah Van Sickle, Academic Librarian

Email Sarah Van Sickle (EST)

Subject Liaison: Resource Management, Business, Interior Design/Decorating, Creative Arts

What is Boolean Searching?

Boolean searching is a type of advanced search technique used in information retrieval, particularly in databases and search engines. It involves using Boolean operators—AND, OR, and NOT—to refine and specify search queries.

  • AND: When you use "AND" between two keywords, it narrows your search and retrieves results that include both terms. For example, "cats AND dogs" would return results containing information about both cats and dogs.

  • OR: "OR" broadens your search, retrieving results that include either of the specified terms. For instance, "cats OR dogs" would return results about cats, results about dogs, and results about both.

  • NOT: "NOT" excludes specific terms from your search results. If you search for "cats NOT dogs," you'll get results about cats but exclude any that mention dogs.

By combining these Boolean operators, users can create more precise and tailored search queries to find the information they need effectively.

Boolean Searching

Rate this Guide

Was this Guide Helpful?
Yes: 1 votes (50%)
No: 0 votes (0%)
Unsure: 1 votes (50%)
Total Votes: 2

Software Options

Citation Software Options

  • Zotero: Zotero is freely accessible citation and research management software.
  • Endnote: EndNote is a reference manager that helps you save time formatting citations, so you can focus on your research.
  • Mendeley: Mendeley brings your research to life, so you can make an impact on tomorrow
  • Papers: Papers helps you collect and curate the research material that you're passionate about.