Text Searching and Boolean Operators


Full Text Searching

Full-Text Searching allows you to search for specific words or phrases that occur in the texts themselves.


Boolean Operators

Boolean (logical) operators and wildcard characters allow identification of a large number of words corresponding to a defined pattern. This product allows Boolean searching in all search fields.


The term Boolean Logic is named after the British mathematician George Boole who produced a mathematical system of logical operators including AND, OR and NOT. This "Boolean Logic" has been adopted by search engines as way of assisting users in building their searches.


AND Operator

The AND operator retrieves all cases where words, phrases, and their variations appear in the same specified context (e.g., church AND state). As you enter more search terms, fewer results will be retrieved but each result will be of higher relevance.


OR Operator

The OR operator retrieves all instances where individual words or phrases appear (e.g., avarice OR greed, holy ghost OR spirit).


NOT Operator

The NOT operator retrieves instances where one chooses to exclude a word from a search (e.g., church NOT state).


Rules of thumb using Boolean Operators

1. Entering more search terms into an 'AND' search will reduce the number of results and help you to focus in on the most relevant matches.

2. Entering more search terms into an 'OR' search will increase the number of results and is particularly useful when you want to include synonyms of your main search term.


Wildcard and Exact Phrase Searching

By default the full text search retrieves the exact word or phrase you enter into the Search Text box. For example, a full text search for "nation" will retrieve all occurrences of the word “nation” and a search for “true love” will return all instances of the exact phrase "true love."


If you wish to retrieve multiple forms of a word, you can use an asterisk as a wildcard character. An * (asterisk) matches any string of characters at the end of a word (e.g., "nation*" retrieves "nation," "nations," "national," "nationalism," etc.).