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Boolean Searching
Off Campus Library Services

Boolean Connectors

  Computerized searching allows us to combine search ideas into groups with logical meaning for the topic we are researching. These search terms may be related to their meaning or very different in meaning. Boolean math allows us to make combinations of groups of terms to come up with sets, which have specific meaning to us in obtaining the information we need to accomplish our research goal.

Computer databases allow us to do Boolean searching. However, the databases may vary as to the exact terminology used. The most commonly shared words are and, or, not. Each term will do something very different when used in a search statement. Each term can be illustrated with a diagram.


and: is the operator for "intersection."
Ex: Kindergarten and reading 

The computer will retrieve all records that discuss kindergarten and reading
reading kindergarten



is the logical operator of "union."
Ex: kindergarten or grade 1

The computer will retrieve all records that discuss kindergarten or grade 1. It would get a lot more hits than the one above because the two words would not have to appear in the same record.
grade 1 kindergarten



not: is the logical operator for "complement."
Ex: kindergarten not reading

The computer will retrieve those records that discuss kindergarten but not reading.
kindergarten reading