Word of the Week: Boolean Operators

October 14, 2009
By Matt Bailey

Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Like some sort of secret paramilitary group. But Boolean operators are, when searching for information in online databases, your best friends. Boolean operators are simply words that specify the relationship between two or more search terms when doing keyword searches:

AND narrows a search, specifying that both search terms must be found in the results, though not necessarily in close proximity.

OR broadens a search. Either search term must be found somewhere in the search results.

NOT narrows a search. A result is displayed only when the first term is present and not the second.