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Engineering: Article Databases

Article Databases

Doing Effective Searches

You can save time and get better information by learning how to apply Boolean logic and other search strategies to your online searches. All keyword searches use some form of Boolean logic.

  • Boolean Logic allows you to combine keywords to make a search more precise. The three combinations are: AND, OR, NOT

AND - Narrows a search

example: bridges AND stress  -- will retrieve all articles with both bridges and stress in the article.

OR - Expands a search

example: stress OR fatigue - will retrieve all articles with just stress, all articles with just fatigue, and all articles with both stress and fatigue.

NOT - Removes a term from a search

example: stress NOT fatigue  -- will retrieve all articles about stress but remove all articles with any mention of fatigue.  Use NOT sparingly because you often lose many useful pieces of information.

You can combine and, or, or not in your searches by using parentheses. 
Example:  bridges AND (stress OR fatigue)  -- will retrieve articles on bridges and stress and bridges and fatigue.