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Search Operators & Search Tips

Boolean Operators

Boolean Operator When to use Example
AND When searching for records that contain all the keywords used education AND Singapore will retrieve records with Singapore and education in the record
OR When searching for records that contain one or more of the keywords used Holland OR Netherlands will retrieve records with Holland and/or Netherlands in the record
NOT When excluding records with certain keywords tennis NOT table will retrieve records with tennis but not table tennis
XOR When searching for records matching any of the keywords but not both dogs XOR cats will retrieve records with dogs only or records with cats only

Truncation and Wildcard (Substitution)

Function Symbol Example When to use Searches for
Truncation $ teach$ When searching keywords containing a common word root with any number of characters following the root Teach, teaches, teacher, teachers, teaching, etc.
Wildcard
(Substitution)
? organi?ation When searching keywords with variant spellings organization or organisation

Nesting

Nesting groups together concepts that are alike and instructs the search engine to search the terms in the parentheses first (e.g. stress and (adolescents or teenagers) will retrieve items on stress and adolescents as well as items on stress and teenagers).

Phrase searching

Use single quotes for phrase search (e.g. 'creative thinking').

Stop Words

The search will ignore the stop words (articles, prepositions, or conjunctions, such as a, an, as, at, be, but, by, do, for, if, in, it, of, on, the, and to, among others). If you wish to include the stop words in your search, enclose your expression in double quotes (e.g. "war and peace").

Operator Precedence

The search statement is processed from left to right except when parentheses are used. Commands in the innermost set of parentheses will be executed first. Order of processing for Boolean operators:

  • AND, NOT
  • XOR, OR

 

Help

Click on Help or contact the Service Point (Level 2, Library) if you need help with your search.
Telephone: 67903626
Email: LIBRIS@nie.edu.sg

Last updated: October 19, 2016  

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