This is the "All About Boolean Operators" page of the "Advanced Googling" guide.
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Advanced Googling  

An introduction to Boolean Search, Google Scholar and other tips for formatting search queries.
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

All About Boolean Operators Print Page


  • Boolean Tutorial
    A 3-5 minute tutorial that covers the basics of Boolean search. From The CSU Libraries.
  • Advanced Boolean Tutorial
    A 3-5 minute tutorial that introduces more advanced ways of using Boolean search. From the CSU Libraries

Boolean Hair Logic

From Toothpastefordinner


Introduction to Boolean Search

Boolean search is based on the principles of Boolean Algebra. Although this search technique might sound complicated, learning the key operators is easy and can drastically improve the effectiveness of your searches. Many online databases understand Boolean search as well as the library catalog.

From Online Information Literacy

Key Operations 

  • OR - Using the "OR" operator tells the search engine to retrieve documents containing at least one of the terms from your search query; and "OR" retrieves documents containing at least one of the terms from your search string
  • XOR - Using the "XOR" (exclusive OR) operator between terms searches for instances where one but not the other of the two terms is present;
  • AND - Using the "AND" operator between terms retrieves documents containing all the terms in your search string;
  • NOT - Using the "NOT" operator will tell the search engine to exclude a specific term from your search query results. Use "NOT" with caution.


Phrase searching

When you want to search for a complete phrase, enclose the words in quotation marks e.g. "natural history museum" or "apple nutritional value." This tells the computer to search for your exact, whole phrase. 


Nesting or Parentheses

Using parentheses around multiple Boolean operators allows you to perform more complex searches. For example if you are researching the life expectancy in the United States you could use this search:

(life expectancy) AND (The United States of America OR America OR The United States) 

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