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ANTH 281a: Graduate Library Orientation: Search tips

Tips and Tricks for Database Searching

Each database interface will have its own quirks and shortcuts--be sure to check "Help" links if you get stuck!

Wildcards & Truncation Searching

Wildcard and truncation symbols can be used in many databases.  They're especially useful if you don't know the exact term for which you want to search, or if there could be alternate spellings.  Be sure to check the "Help" section of the database you're using, to make sure you use the correct symbol--it can vary.


AnthroSource database uses a question mark or a pound sign as a wildcard symbol.  It uses an asterisk as a truncation symbol. 

Bra?il  will return results for Brazil, Brasil, and other variations which may or may not be relevant (eg Bragil).

Colo#r wil return results for Color or Colour.

Himalaya* will return results for Himalaya, Himalayan, Himalayas, Himalayans, etc.

AND, OR, NOT...Boolean Logic

Boolean logic defines logical relationships between terms in a search. The Boolean search operators are and, or and not. You can use these operators to create a very broad or very narrow search.

Image created by Erica DeFrain.