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Section: Using search tools

Using Boolean Operators

The logic of AND, OR and NOT and how it combines search terms is consistent for most databases.  The York University Libraries' catalogue and many of the Libraries' databases for finding journal articles use AND, OR and NOT. 

However, some databases will use different symbols to represent the logical relationships between terms that these operators represent.  The Advanced features, HELP, or ABOUT links in many WWW search engines will provide further information about how to combine terms with the logic of Boolean operators.  For example, Yahoo! Search Advanced Search provides separate search boxes to define how terms should be connected.  These boxes allow you to build sophisticated searches that take advantage of the logic of Boolean operators, although the terms AND, OR and NOT may not actually appear in the searches. 

Below is a screenshot that highlights some of the advanced search features of Yahoo! Search that use the underlying logic of Boolean operators.

Yahoo Advanced


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