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Competences: 23 Things Reference - Thing #1

Boolean Searching

You may think you know all there is to Boolean searching. The truth is, you probably only know the basics. Using advanced boolean searching is not always necessary, but you should know how to do it so that you can quickly find accurate answers to your search.

Terms
A query is broken up into terms and operators. There are two types of of terms:

  • Single: a single word such as "library" or "ephrata."
  • Multiple terms can be combined together with Boolean operators to form a more complex query.
  • Terms are NOT case-sensitive.

Fields
When performing a search, you can either specify a field or use the default field. The field names field vary depending on what search engine or database you are using. For instance, in the OPAC, the defaul field is "Title."

Boolean Operators
Boolean operators allow terms to be combined through logic operators. Boolean operators AND, "+", OR, NOT and "-" are the most common. Boolean operators MUST BE IN ALL CAPS.

OR
The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching document if either of the terms exist in a document.
Example: cats OR dogs

AND
The AND operator matches documents where both terms exist anywhere in the text of a single document or webpage. 
Example: dogs AND cats

Google Advanced Searching Operators

Google uses certain operators that can help you quickly find what you are looking for.

filetype:
If you are, for instance, searching for a PowerPoint presentation about transliteracy, you'd use the search: filetype:ppt transliteracy

allintitle:
This search will return results with your search term ONLY IF it occurs in the title of the page

allintext:
This search will return results with your search term ONLY IF it occurs in the text of the page

allinurl:
This search will return results with your search term ONLY IF it occurs in the URL of the page

allinanchor:
This search will return results with your search term ONLY IF it occurs in the links to the page

site:
This search will return results that are located within a specific domain name. For instance site:ephratapubliclibrary.org "passport hours"

define:
Just type the word that you need a definition for after define: and it will return the definition

Thing #1 Survey - Response Required

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Tools/Tutorials for Learning Boolean Searching Techniques

Boolean Search Overview

Boolean Search Vocabulary

Boolean Search - A type of search allowing users to combine keywords with operators such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results. For example, a Boolean search could be "hotel" AND "New York". This would limit the search results to only those documents containing the two keywords.

Query - A query is another word for question. One type of query, which many people perform multiple times a day, is a search query. Each time you search for something using a search engine, you perform a search query. Another common type of query is a database query. Databases store data in a structured format, which can be accessed using queries.

Boolean Operators - Boolean operators define the relationships between words or groups of words.

Assignment

Using what you learned about Boolean searching, please construct your search for the following questions.

Your answers should be sent as an email attachment to techservices@ephratapubliclibrary.org.

Construct the search phrase you would use to find the following answers. Please try to use at least 2 Boolean operators in each search.

I want to know which states have the death penalty.
     Search phrase:
     Number of results returned:
     URL of where you found the answer:
     Answer:
  
What is a "latch key" child? When did this term originate?
     Search phrase:
     Number of results returned:
     URL of where you found the answer:
     Answer:

According to tradition, what is an appropriate gift for a 10th wedding anniversary?
     Search phrase:
     Number of results returned:
     URL of where you found the answer:
     Answer:

What was the price of a movie ticket in 1977?
     Search phrase:
     Number of results returned:
     URL of where you found the answer:
     Answer:

Are their any convicted sex offenders living in my neighborhood? I live in Ephrata Borough. If so, which houses are they in?
     Search phrase:
     Number of results returned:
     URL of where you found the answer:
     Answer:

How many cats and dogs were on the Titanic? Did any survive?
     Search phrase:
     Number of results returned:
     URL of where you found the answer:
     Answer: