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The College Libraries are now open to the HCCC community -

Information & Media Literacy

  • Use the Boolean operator AND - Narrows a Search
    The AND operator tells the computer that both terms must be present in the record. Example: children children and depression children and depression and medication children and depression and medication and Prozac
  • Use the Boolean operator OR - Broadens a Search
    Using OR tells the computer that either (any) term must be present in the record. Example: children or adolescents or teens or kids (children or adolescents or teens or kids) and depression (children or adolescents or teens or kids) and (depression or antidepressants)
  • Use the Boolean operator NOT - Narrows a Search
    The NOT or AND NOT (depending on the search engine) allows the first term to be search while subtracting the terms following the NOT operator. Example: A search on Mexico AND NOT city includes results contains: New Mexico; the nation of Mexico; US-Mexico trade; but does not return Mexico City.
  • Use quotation marks when searching for “exact phrases”
    Phrase searching tells the computer to search for two or more words in the exact order in which they are entered. Use quotations marks to enclose the phrase Example: “attention deficit disorder”, “spirit of St. Louis”
  • Use parentheses to group OR terms together
    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, (mouse OR rat) AND trap, the search engine retrieves results containing the word mouse or the word rat together with the word trap in the fields searched by default.
  • Use truncation in searches to expand you search
    Truncation allows you to search the "root" form of a word with all its different endings by adding a symbol to the end of a word.
    Example: typing in bank* will retrieve: bank, banks, bankers, bankruptcy. The most common truncation symbol is the asterisk * but databases vary. Example: bank* bank! bank# bank?