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Database Quick Tips

EBSCO

EBSCO Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND apples narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
W# animal W3 therapy proximity and order Within: specifies the order of search words and their proximity to each other within an article. Animal W3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, etc.
N#

animal N3 therapy

proximity Near: will search for terms that have a specified distance between each other and are in any order. Animal N3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, therapy animal, therapy using animals, therapy animal, etc.
quotation marks "San Francisco" exact phrase use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
asterisk educat* truncation and wildcard

Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.The asterisk  can be used at the end (right-hand truncation) or in the middle of a word.

You can also use an asterisk between two words to match any single word. For example, a search for midsummer * dream will match the phrases midsummer night’s dream and midsummer day’s dream.

question mark wom?n wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.
hashtag colo#r wildcard Use the hashtag (#) when an alternate spelling might contain an extra character. For example, type colo#r to find all records containing color or colour.

Order of operation: AND, OR

Additional details can be found on these EBSCO guides:
Boolean Operators
Proximity Searching
Wildcards

Gale

Gale Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND applies narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
W# animal W3 therapy proximity and order Adjacent: specifies the order of search words and their proximity to each other within an article. Animal W3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, etc.
N#

animal N3 therapy

proximity Near: will search for terms that have a specified distance between each other and are in any order. Animal N3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, therapy animal, therapy using animals, therapy animal, etc.
quotation marks "San Francisco" exact phrase use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
asterisk

educat*

truncation

Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.

question mark wom?n truncation and wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Can be used in the middle or at the right end of a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.
exclamation point colo!r truncation and wildcard An exclamation point (!) stands for one or no characters and is especially useful when you want to match the singular and plural of a word but not other forms. For example, product! matches product and products but not productive or productivity. The exclamation point can also be used inside a word to match certain variant spellings. For example, colo!r matches both color (American) and colour (British).

Order of operation: proximity operators, NOT, AND, OR

Complete guide to Gale can be found online.

HeinOnline

HeinOnline Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND applies narrow Will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms. The AND operator is applied by default; for example cat AND dog produces the same results as cat dog.
OR cat OR feline broaden Will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude Will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
quotation marks  "peanut butter" exact phrase use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
quotation marks and tilde combo

 "debt relief IMF"~10

proximity To search for documents containing two or more terms that appear within a certain distance of each other, put quotation marks around the terms followed by a tilde (~) and a number to indicate the maximum number of words apart that the terms can be. "debt relief IMF~10 retrieves documents containing the terms debt and relief and IMF within ten words of one another.
w/# debt w/10 relief proximity To find two single terms within a certain number of words of each other in a document, use w/# between the terms.
w/s debt w/s relief proximity Use w/s between single terms to find results that contain the terms within approximately the same sentence.
w/p debt w/p relief proximity Use w/p between single terms to find results that contain the terms within approximately the same paragraph. The syntax defines a paragraph as within 75 words.
asterisk

educat*

truncation

Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.

question mark wom?n wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.
tilde color~ fuzzy searching Use fuzzy searches to search for terms similar in spelling to another term. Color~ retrieves color and colour.
caret symbol cat^7 dog relevance boosting Users can increase the relevance of one term in a multiple-term query by raising the term’s “boost factor.” Raise a term’s boost factor by appending a caret symbol (^) and a number (the boost factor). For example, entering cat^7 dog gives the term cat seven times more relevance than the term dog.

Complete guide to HeinOnline can be found online.

Ignacio

Ignacio Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND apples narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
AND NOT surf AND NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
quotation marks "San Francisco" exact phrase use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
asterisk educat* truncation Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.
question mark wom?n wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.

Complete guide to Ignacio can be found online.

JSTOR

JSTOR Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND apples narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
tilde symbol "animal therapy"~3 proximity Proximity searching: JSTOR search allows you to find terms that are within a set number of words of each other using the tilde (~) symbol. "animal therapy"~3 will retrieve results with the terms animal and therapy within three words of each other. You can replace "3" with a different number of words.
caret symbol

cat^7 dog

relevance boosting Search results are listed in order of relevance. Users can increase the relevance of one term in a multiple-term query by raising the term’s “boost factor.” Raise a term’s boost factor by appending a caret symbol (^) and a number (the boost factor). For example, entering the query cat^7 dog gives the term cat seven times more relevance than the term dog.
quotation marks "San Francisco" exact phrase Use quotation marks around two or more words to retrieve results that include that specific phrase.
tilde symbol at end of word dostoyevsky~ fuzzy search You can find words with spellings similar to your search term by using the tilde (~) symbol at the end of a search term. For example, dostoyevsky~ helps find items with dostoyevsky, as well as variant spellings like dostoevsky, dostoievski, dostoevsky, dostoyevski, dostoevskii, dostoevski, etc.
asterisk educat* truncation Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.
question mark wom?n wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.

Complete guide to JSTOR can be found online.

NewsBank

Newsbank Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND apples narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
ADJ# animal ADJ3 therapy proximity and order Adjacent: specifies the order of search words and their proximity to each other within an article. Animal ADJ3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, etc.
NEAR#

animal NEAR3 therapy

proximity Near: will search for terms that have a specified distance between each other and are in any order. Animal NEAR3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, therapy animal, therapy using animals, therapy animal, etc.
quotation marks "San Francisco" exact phrase use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
asterisk educat* truncation Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.
question mark wom?n wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.

Nexis Uni

Nexis Uni Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND applies narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
AND NOT surf AND NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
pre/# animal pre/3 therapy proximity and order Pre: specifies the order of search words and their proximity to each other within an article. Animal pre/3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, etc.
w/#

animal w/3 therapy

proximity Within: will search for terms that have a specified distance between each other and are in any order. Animal w/3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, therapy animal, therapy using animals, therapy animal, etc.
quotation marks "San Francisco" exact phrase use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
asterisk educat* truncation Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* would retrieve educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.
question mark wom?n wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.

Order of operation: OR, proximity operator, AND, AND NOT

Complete guide to Nexis Uni can be found online.

Ovid

Ovid Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND applies narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
ADJ#

animal ADJ3 therapy

proximity Near: will search for terms that have a specified distance between each other and are in any order, in a sentence or in a paragraph. Animal ADJ3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, therapy animal, therapy using animals, therapy animal, etc. ADJ# does not cross paragraphs.
phrase searching peanut butter exact phrase If you enter multiple words (without any commands/operators between them), Ovid will search for the words as an exact phrase.

asterisk

question mark

educat*

educat?

truncation

Use an asterisk (*) or question mark (?) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.

asterisk#

question mark#

econom*2

econom?2

limited truncation Use an asterisk and number (or a question mark and number) for limited truncation: a number can be entered next to the asterisk to restrict to a certain number of characters. Econom*2 retrieves economy and economic but not economies, economical, economist, etc.
hashtag wom#n truncation or wildcard Use a hashtag (#) to replace exactly one letter in a word. Can be used in the middle or at the right end of a word. Wom#n retrieves woman and women.
question mark flavo?r truncation or wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace zero or one letter in a word. Can be used in the middle or at the right end of a word. Flavo?r retrieves flavor and flavour.

Order of operation: Ovid processes query and set operators from left to right.

Complete guide to Ovid can be found online.

Proquest

Proquest Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND applies narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms

PRE/#

p/#

animal PRE/3 therapy proximity and order Adjacent: specifies the order of search words and their proximity to each other within an article. Animal PRE/3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, etc.

NEAR/#

n/#

animal NEAR/3 therapy

proximity Near: will search for terms that have a specified distance between each other and are in any order. Animal NEAR/3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, therapy animal, therapy using animals, therapy animal, etc.
quotation marks "San Francisco" exact phrase use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
asterisk

educat*

econom[*2]

truncation and wildcard

Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc. The asterisk  can be used at the end (right-hand truncation) or in the middle of a word. The default maximum number of characters that will be retrieved is 5.

Use an asterisk and number in brackets [*2] for limited truncation: a number can be entered next to the asterisk to define how extensive the truncation should be. The max number supported is 20.

question mark wom?n truncation and wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Can be used in the middle or at the right end of a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.

Order of operation: PRE, NEAR, AND, OR, NOT

Complete guide to Proquest can be found online.

Sage

Sage Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND applies narrow Will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms. The AND operator is applied by default; for example cat AND dog produces the same results as cat dog.
OR cat OR feline broaden Will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
NOT surf NOT web exclude Will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
quotation marks  "peanut butter" exact phrase  use around two or more words to find articles that include that specific phrase.
quotation marks and tilde combo

 "debt forgiveness"~10

proximity To search for documents containing two or more terms that appear within a certain distance of each other, put quotation marks around the terms followed by a tilde (~) and a number to indicate the maximum number of words apart that the terms can be. "debt forgiveness"~10 retrieves documents containing the terms debt and forgiveness within ten words of one another.
asterisk

educat*

truncation or wildcard

Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc. The asterisk  can be used at the end (right-hand truncation) or in the middle of a word.

question mark wom?n truncation or wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Can be used in the middle or at the right end of a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.
tilde dostoyevsky~ fuzzy searching To construct a query that includes a term for which multiple spellings may exist, use the fuzzy search feature by appending a tilde (~). entering the term dostoyevsky~ returns documents containing the variants dostoevsky, dostoievski, etc.
caret symbol cat^7 dog relevance boosting Search results are listed in order of relevance. Users can increase the relevance of one term in a multiple-term query by raising the term’s “boost factor.” Raise a term’s boost factor by appending a caret symbol (^) and a number (the boost factor). For example, entering the query cat^7 dog gives the term cat seven times more relevance than the term dog.

Order of operation: AND, OR

Complete guide to Sage can be found online.

Scopus

Scopus Search Tips
Command Example Function Description
AND organic AND apples narrow will narrow searches by showing only results with both terms
OR cat OR feline broaden will broaden searches by showing results with either or both terms
AND NOT surf AND NOT web exclude will narrow search by by excluding results with specific terms
PRE/N animal PRE/3 therapy proximity and order Adjacent: specifies the order of search words and their proximity to each other within an article. Animal PRE/3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, etc.
W/N

animal W/3 therapy

proximity Near: will search for terms that have a specified distance between each other and are in any order. Animal W/3 therapy retrieves animal therapy, animal based therapy, animal assisted play therapy, therapy animal, therapy using animals, therapy animal, etc.
quotation marks "heart-attack" fuzzy search Quotations marks will search for fuzzy phrases. It will also search for both singular and plurals (with some exceptions). Wildcards can be used. “heart-attack” will search for heart-attack, heart attack, heart attacks, and so on.
curly brackets {heart-attack} exact phrase Curly brackets will search for a specific phrase. It limits the search to only the specified character string. {heart-attack} will only search for heart-attack.
asterisk educat* truncation Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Educat* retrieves educate, educated, educating, education, educator, educators, educational, etc.
question mark wom?n wildcard Use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter in a word. Wom?n retrieves woman and women.

Order of operation: OR, AND, AND NOT

A Scopus Search Guide is available online.

Order of Operation

You can enclose search terms and their operators in parentheses to specify the order in which they are interpreted. Information within parentheses is read first, then information outside parentheses is read next. For example, when you enter (pet OR animal) AND therapy, the search retrieves results containing either of the words pet or animal along with the word therapy.

If there are nested parentheses, the search engine processes the innermost parenthetical expression first, then the next, and so on until the entire query has been interpreted. For example, ((pet OR animal) AND therapy) AND training.

If you don't use parentheses, the following databases utilize an "order of operation" to execute the search:

  • Ebsco: AND, OR
  • Gale: proximity operators, NOT, AND, OR
  • Nexis  Uni: OR, proximity operator, AND, AND NOT
  • Ovid: processes operators from left to right.
  • Proquest: PRE, NEAR, AND, OR, NOT
  • Sage: AND, OR
  • Scopus: OR, AND, AND NOT