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Research Guides

LibrarySearch Tips

A guide to the University of Toronto Libraries' LibrarySearch platform

Using Search Operators

Search operators are a set of commands that can be used in almost every search engine, database, or online catalogue.  The most popular  operators are AND, OR, and NOT.  Other operators include parentheses, truncation, and phrases.

Use the following search operators to broaden or narrow your results.

AND Use this word between concepts to narrow your results.  e.g. sensory AND perception
OR Use this word between related concepts.  e.g. habitat OR ecosystem
NOT Use this word to exclude terms from your search. e.g. virus NOT corona
Quotations Use quotes to search for a multi-word concept. e.g. "International Year of Indigenous Languages"
* Use the asterisk symbol to include alternate word endings. e.g. cultur* will search for culture, cultural, and culturally
? Use a question mark to include variations in spelling in your search. e.g. wom?n will search for woman, women
(  ) Use brackets to create separate groups of actions in your search. e.g. "climate change" AND (ecosystem* OR habitat*) AND Ontario

Pictured below is an example of how all of the above search operators can be combined to refine a search that will help locate sources describing the experience of women participating in the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada.

Advanced search using brackets, quotations, an asterisk, and the AND, OR, and NOT commands.