Boolean Search Essentials: Operators and Strategies

With our enhanced search functionality on PressReader, your patrons can now make use of extended search strings and new Boolean operators, empowering them to delve deeper into their fields of study and research the now better and faster on PressReader. The key to understanding Boolean search logic is to recognize how the operators AND, OR, and NOT work to refine your search results.
  • AND: Use this when you want to find documents that contain all the search terms you're querying. For example, if you search for global AND warming, you'll only get results that include both terms.
  • OR: This is useful when you're looking for any one of several terms. Searching for virus OR bacteria gives you results that mention either term.
  • NOT: This operator excludes terms from your search. If you search for smartphone NOT Apple, you'll get results for smartphones that do not mention Apple.
It's important to know that AND takes precedence over OR. It's like multiplication and addition in arithmetic: multiplication comes before addition, just as AND comes before OR in search operations.
For more complex searches, you can use parentheses to group terms and operators. This is similar to using parentheses in math to control the order of operations.
How-To Graphic for Advanced Search_V1.jpg
  • Using Parentheses: If you search for (earthquake OR tsunami) AND Japan, the search engine looks for documents that mention either earthquake or tsunami along with the term Japan. However, if you don't use parentheses, as in earthquake OR tsunami AND Japan, the engine will first find all documents that mention tsunami and Japan, and then include all documents that mention earthquake, whether or not they mention Japan.
  • Nested Parentheses: If you have a search like ((renewable OR solar) AND energy) NOT oil, the search engine first processes renewable OR solar, then adds AND energy, and finally excludes any results that include oil.
  • Phrase Searching with Booleans: If you put a Boolean operator inside quotation marks, like "cats AND dogs", the operator is ignored because the search engine treats it as a phrase to search for exactly as it is.
  • Using the Wildcard "*": When you want to expand your search to include various suffixes of a word, use the asterisk (*) as a wildcard character. For example, if you search for environ* AND protection, the search engine will retrieve documents that contain any words starting with "environ" (such as environment, environmental, or environmentally) in conjunction with the word "protection". This allows for a more comprehensive search when you are looking for documents that may use variable endings of a particular word stem.
  • When entering Boolean operators, it is crucial to type them in UPPERCASE letters. The system is designed to only recognize operators such as AND, OR, NOT when they are in ALL CAPS. This ensures the proper execution of your search queries.

image add fields.png


Add Fields" feature is a functional component that enables end users to enhance and refine search queries. This capability allows users to dynamically add additional criteria to their searches, thus providing a means to specify and narrow down the results according to their unique requirements. From an end-user perspective, it offers a customizable search experience where one can incrementally include parameters beyond the default options, allowing for more precise and relevant outcomes. This feature supports efficient retrievals by minimizing noise and improving the accuracy of the search results. It directly contributes to a more effective and satisfying user experience by aligning search results more closely with the user's intent. Additionally, it empowers users by providing them the flexibility to manipulate the breadth and depth of their search criteria without overwhelming them with options upfront.

By using Boolean logic, you can craft searches that are precisely tailored to the information you seek, saving time and increasing the relevance of your search results.
Was this article helpful?
9 out of 9 found this helpful