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HIST 301: Historian's Craft (Petty, Spring 2024)

AND OR NOT

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

AND - searches for books and articles containing both terms. Example: Vermont AND "American Revolution" AND "local communities"

OR - searches for one of the words. Example: "Convict labor" OR "prison labor"

NOT - exclude a term. Example:  ("Convict labor" OR "prison labor") NOT "Slave labor"

Parenthetical notes () - excellent for OR or NOT searches. Like a math equation, the database will do this part first.
Example: "Convict labor" OR "prison labor" 
Example: "Native americans" OR "indigenous peoples" OR "indians of north america"

Quotation Marks ""- Links words together in the search. Works best for phrases or proper names.
Example: "Native americans" OR "indigenous peoples" OR "Indians of north america"
Warning: You might exclude results. A search for "Captain Smith" will exclude all results for "Captaine Smith," which was the original spelling. "North american indians" will exclude "american indians"

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.
Warning: You may get unexpected results. Virginia* will bring up articles on the Virginia opossum. Wom* will include wombat.

Differences between databases

  • Some databases have special rule.
    • Not all databases require capitalization of AND OR NOT but some do -- it is best practice to always use capitalization
    • Quotation marks and Parenthetical notes work in all our databases
    • Asterisk work in all our databates
      • Some databases will not let you use an asterisk within quotation marks
    • Gale databases sometimes get confused by typing AND in the search box -- it is sometimes best to use the AND drop down function in the search boxes.

Special Searches

Many Databases have extra hidden search commands that only work in their database. These are extremely useful BUT differ between databases, so consult the directions for each database before using them

  • Readex
    • asterisk (*) matches multiple characters.
      • Woman* = woman, womans, womanhood
      • hea*one = headphone, headstone, healthone, hearthstone, heartstone, heatherstone
    • question mark (?) replaces a single letter in a word.
      • wom?n = woman, women
    • Near Operator NEAR#  will return results where words are close together, regardless of order
      • woman NEAR7 colleges = woman and colleges within seven words apart in any order
    • Adjacency Operator ADJ# will return results where words are close together, in that order
      • Women ADJ5 colleges = colleges within the last 5 words after women.
  • EBSCO
    • asterisk (*) matches multiple characters.
      • Woman* = woman, womans, womanhood
      • hea*one = headphone, headstone, healthone, hearthstone, heartstone, heatherstone
    • hash sign (#) matches one optional character.
      • colo#r = color, colour
    • question mark (?) matches exactly one character.
      • wom?n = woman, women
    • Near Operator (N) will return results where words are close together, regardless of order
      • Women N5 colleges = women and colleges within 5 words of each other
    • Within Operator (W) will return results where words are close together, in that order
      • Women W5 colleges = colleges within the last 5 words after women.
  • ProQuest
    • asterisk (*) matches multiple characters. 
      • Woman* = woman, womans, womanhood
      • Only works at end of word
    • No hashtag search in ProQuest
    • question mark (?) matches exactly one character.
      • wom?n = woman, women
      • Can be used multiple times. 
        • ad??? = ad, ads, adds, added, adult, adopt
    • Near Search, NEAR/# finds terms within # words apart in any order
      • woman NEAR/7 colleges = woman and colleges within seven words apart in any order
    • Within Search, PRE/# or P/#, finds terms within # words apart in that order
      • woman PRE/7 colleges = searches were colleges is listed within 7 searches after woman
  • Gale
    • Asterisk (*) matches multiple characters, but only at end of the word
      • Woman* = woman, womans, womanhood
    • Question mark (?) replaces exactly 1 character.
      • wom?n = woman, women
    • Exclamation (!) stands for one or no character.
      • colo!r = color, colour
    • Near search N# finds terms within # words apart in any order
      • woman N4 colleges = women and colleges 4 words apart
    • Within search W# finds terms within # words apart in that order
      • woman W4 colleges = results where college is within 4 words after woman.
  • WorldCat
    • Asterisk (*) matches multiple characters, but only at end of the word
      • Needs at least 3 letters preceding it
    • Hash sign (#) replace one character.
      • wom#n = woman, women
    • Question mark (?) Replace 0 to 9 unknown characters in a search term. Works in the middle of a word
      • colo?r = color, colour
      • if followed by a number, you can limit how many letters are changed.
        • res?4tion = respiration, restoration, reservation
    • Near (n#) finds both terms, in any order, within # words (only up to 25)
      • women n10 colleges = colleges and women within 10 words in any order
    • Within (w#) finds both terms, in the order typed, within # words (only up to 25)
      • women w10 colleges = colleges no more than 10 words after women

Please note that many databases works differently, so you need to read the about page. For example:

  • GoogleBook uses AROUND(#) for proximity search while British History Online uses "word1 word2"~# 
    • Googlebook example:  woman AROUND(5) colleges = woman and colleges 5 words apart
    • BHO example: "women colleges"~5 =  woman and colleges 5 words apart
      • Note this is weird instance where "" isn't a phrase search. Very weird
  • Some databases, like Chronicling America, have a special search box specifically for proximity searches.