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Introduction to the Library and Research - Longview

This Introduction to the Library guide will provide students with information about using the library and beginning research.

Performing a Search

Putting Concepts Together - AND, OR and NOT

Use AND and OR to combine keywords or phrases.

  • AND narrows a search - results must contain both terms.
    Use AND to combine separate concepts.
  • OR broadens a search - results can contain either term, or both.
    Use OR to combine synonyms.
  • NOT narrows a search - results can contain one term, not the other.
    Use NOT to exclude terms



Sample Search

The search will find

AND careers
Items that contain both
"careers" and "medicine"
OR occupations
Items that contain either
"occupations" or "careers"
assisted suicide
Items that contain
"assisted suicide" but not "kevorkian"

Basic Tips for Search Engines

  • Use the plus (+) and minus (-) signs in front of words to include or exclude them during search. EXAMPLE: If you do not want results to include bulimia try this: +anorexia-bulimia (Notice NO space between the sign and the keyword)
  • Use double quotation marks (“”) around phrases to ensure they are exactly as is, with the words side by side in the same order. EXAMPLE: “Women’s History Month”
  • Type keywords and phrases in lower case to find both lower and upper versions. Typing capital letters will usually return only an exact match. EXAMPLE: president retrieves both president and President
  • Use truncation and wildcard symbols to look for variations in spelling and word form. EXAMPLE: library* returns library, libraries, librarian, etc. (See box below)
  • Know the default settings your search engine uses (OR or AND). This will have an effect on how you set up your search statement – if you don’t use any signs (+, -, “”), the engine will default to its own settings.
  • Use Boolean searches, always enclose OR statements in parentheses. EXAMPLE: “financial aid” AND (college OR university)

Tips source: Chamberlain, Ellen. “Bare Bones” A Basic Tutorial on Searching the Web. 2014 

Tricks for Searching

  • librar*
    • will retrieve: library, libraries, librarian, etc.
  • wom#n
    • will retrieve: woman, women

Helpful Hints

  • Go from the general to the specific. Using the resources available, start from a general idea and slowly get more specific.

  • Think outside the box with your search terms. There is more than one word for almost everything. If you are having trouble with certain terms, try a thesaurus or use the suggested topics listed in the databases. 

  • Keep track of all your resources. Maybe even a citation for each. It is difficult to retrace a resource from one quote or point.