For quick searching of library sources, give this a try. Available for Firefox and Chrome browsers only.
In most databases, and in Google, enclosing words between quotation marks means: search for these words next to each other, in order.
In most databases, if you type the beginning of a word and then type an asterisk (*), the database will match any word that begins with those letters. For instance:
In our library catalog, an asterisk can match a maximum of 5 characters. To match more, you need to type a double asterisk (**).
To truncate a word in LexisNexis Academic, use an exclamation point (!). For instance, politic!
Google does not have this feature because it applies truncation (and many other "fuzzy" search techniques) automatically.
In most databases, when you type a bunch of words, the system searches for records that include all of those words. If you connect words or phrases together with the word OR, database will match any of the words you type. For instance:
You need to be careful to either put the OR statement in parentheses, or in its own box on an Advanced Search screen. Otherwise you may get lots of results since the system will ignore most of your search query.
Here is a search that will catch all articles with the phrase Hurricane Katrina that also have either the word corruption or the word mismanagement:
And here is a search that will be much less successful:
In this case you would get all articles containing the word mismanagement, whether or not they also had the phrase Hurricane Katrina.
It's better to leave out minor connecting words such as with, during, in, etc. Sometimes databases ignore these, but other times they don't, and your search results suffer as a result. Compare the following two searches:
Just by removing the word during, we got a lot more good results.