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PowER Search Guide: Search Tips (Truncation, Wildcards & Phrase Searching

Learn how to get the most out of our new search capabilities.

Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)

If you do not use AND, OR, NOT to separate your search terms, all terms combined with the AND operator. Below are additional tips for using Boolean operators:

  • OR, NOT and AND must be written in ALL CAPS.
  • To expand the results set, use the OR operator, e.g., army OR navy OR "air force" OR marines will return items that contain any of these terms.
  • To exclude items, use the NOT operator or minus sign (-) before a term, e.g., animal NOT dog, will not include results with the term “dog”. Note: This will also exclude any records that contains both the terms animal and dog.
  • Use parentheses to change the order of how a search is processed, e.g., ptsd AND army OR military vs. ptsd AND (army OR military). The first search will return all articles discussing "ptsd and army", as well as any article with the term military.

Search Fields (DOI, ISBN, Title, etc.)

Terms entered in the search box are automatically searched across many fields. If you wish to narrow your search to a specific search field, use Advanced Search to view the full list of searchable fields and select a specific field.

  • For example, the search ISSN:(1234-5678), finds records that contain the value 1234-5678 in the ISSN field.

Truncation & Wildcards

Searches can be performed using the wildcards (?,*) and double quotes.

  • Question mark (?) will match any one character. It cannot be used as the first character of a search.
    • For example, wom?n can be used to find woman or women.
  • Asterisk (*) will match zero or more characters within a word or at the end of a word.
    • A search for ch*ter would match charter, character, and chapter.
    • A search for temp*, will match all suffixes, such as temptation, temple and temporary.
  • Use "double quotes" to search for a specific phrase, e.g., "caregiver support".

Rhonda Allard

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Rhonda J. Allard

See also

James A. Zimble Learning Resource Center • 4301 Jones Bridge Rd. Bethesda, MD 20814 • Main Number: 301-295-3189 • AMI Helpdesk: 301-295-3358

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