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HIST 121: United States History to 1877 (Becker, Spring 2024)

Search Techniques (AND OR NOT)

Be sure to use Caps for AND, OR, NOT when searching.

AND - searches for books and articles containing both terms. Example: Schools AND Education

OR - searches for one of the words. Example: schools OR academies

NOT - exclude a term. Example:  Universities NOT academies

Parenthetical notes () - excellent for OR or NOT searches. Like a math equation, the database will do this part first.
Example: (schools OR academies) AND women = search for schools and academies for women
Example: (universities NOT academies) AND women = search for women's universities, excluding women's academies

Quotation Marks ""- Links words together in the search. Works best for phrases or proper names.
Example: "higher education"
Example: "West Virginia"
Warning: You might exclude results. A search for "Captain Smith" will exclude all results for "Captaine Smith," which was the original spelling. "College of William & Mary" will exclude when it's just called "William & Mary"

Asterisk * - Allows you to search several word endings at once, without using OR.
Example: Virginia* will give you results for Virginia, Virginian, Virginians. 
Example: wom* will cover women, woman, womens, womanhood.
Example: Brit* will give you British, Britain, Brits.
Warning: You may get unexpected results. Brit* will also yield Brittany, Britons, and Britches. Virginia* will bring up articles on the Virginia opossum. Wom* will include wombat.


  • History of education for women in America in the 19th century
    • History AND education AND women AND ("united States" OR america*) AND 19th
  • Diplomatic relations between France and the United States during the War of 1812
    • Diplomatic AND (france OR french) AND ("united States" OR america*) AND "war of 1812"
  • Race and racism in sorority life at William and Mary.
    • (Race OR racism) AND sororit* AND ("william and mary" OR "william & mary")