How to Do Library Research

This set of pages has information on how to do library research. In all cases, once you have located sources, be sure to evaluate them, using the evaluation guides.

Truncation and Proximity Operators

If you want to narrow or broaden your search, you may want to find out if truncation and proximity operators are available in the database you are using. Look in the help screens to find out about these useful operators. This Web page has the truncation and proximity operators for selected databases. They are listed by vendor name or database name.

Truncation is a mechanism for searching multiple terms that begin with a desired prefix. For example, "build" with a truncation symbol will search for build, building, buildings, builder, etc. The symbol varies from database to database. The truncations symbol is frequently an asterisk (*), dollar sign ($), or plus sign (+). In some databases, truncation is used to search for the root word only. Read the help screens in the database for exact details.

Proximity operators are a way to ensure that search terms appear next to one another, within a certain number of words, or appear in the same sentence, paragraph, or field (part of a record; for example, title or abstract). "With" and "near" may have different meanings, depending on the database, so always read the help screens for details. In the descriptions below "#" may stand for any number. Some of the vendors/databases listed above do not support proximity operators, so they are not included in the chart below.


Truncation is a mechanism for searching multiple terms that begin with a desired prefix. For example, "build" with a truncation symbol will search for build, building, buildings, builder, etc. The symbol varies from database to database. The truncations symbol is frequently an asterisk (*), dollar sign ($), or plus sign (+). In some databases, truncation is used to search for the root word only. Read the help screens in the database for exact details.

Software/ Vendor/ Database  truncation symbol  example                  finds (what is retrieved)                         

EBSCO (Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, Agricola, PsycINFO, CAB Abstracts, etc.)

*

 

? replaces that number of character(s)

comput*

 

ne?t

computer, computing, computation, etc.
 

neat, nest, next (will not find "net")

OCLC/FirstSearch® (WorldCat)

+ plurals with added s or es only

* only after third character
 

# one character
 

? zero to nine characters

success+       
 

instruction*

 

wom#n
 

colo?r

success, successes
 

instruction, instructions, instructional
 

women, woman
 

color, colour, colonizer, colorimeter

ISI®
Web of Science®

* zero or more characters

 

? can replace exactly one character

 

 

$ one or no character

pharmac

sul*ur


en?oblast

 

ch?mi*

 

enrol$ment

pharmacy, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical

sulphur, sulfer

endoblast, entoblast


chemist, chemistry, chimia, chimica, chmemie


enrolment, enrollment

JSTOR

& searches singular and plural forms of English words (only)

 

 

? zero or one character in a word. Use multiple ? for more than one letter--only will replace up to the number of ?

cat&

fox&

shelf&


te?ts

bird???

cat & cats

fox & foxes

shelf & shelves


tets, tents, tests, texts

bird, birding, birdman, birds

Project MUSE * zero or more characters, at end of words only modern* modern, modernity, modernism, etc.

Alexander Street Press

(Full text: primary sources including diaries, letters, drama, poetry, film scripts, etc. Also biographies)

. any single character

* any string of characters (beginning, middle, or end of a word)

.? matches characters entered plus one more character

[a-z] matches a single character in the specified range

# matches capitalized words only (does not work with OR operator : | [pipe])

CAPITAL LETTER matches all accented and non-accented forms of it

gentlem.n

cigar*
c.*eers
*habit

hono.?r


civili[zs]e


#bacon
 

 

naIvetE

gentleman, gentlemen

cigar, cigars, cigarette, etc.
compeers, cheers, careers
habit, cohabit, inhabit

honor, honour


civilize, civilise


Bacon (but not bacon)

 


naïveté (with or without accents)

Readex (American State Papers, Serial Set, Early American Imprints)

? single character

* multiple characters

wom?n

environment*

 

Pen*lvania

women, woman

environment, environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.

Pennsylvania, Pensilvania

Science Direct

! replaces any number of letters following a root word

* replaces characters anywhere in a word, except the first character; at end of word include as many * as want found

behav!


wom*n

transplant**

 

Bernst**n

behave, behaviour, behavioural, etc.

women, woman

transplant, transplanted, transplanter (but not transplantation or transplanting)


Bernstein, Bernstien

ProQuest (New York Times, Ethnic Newswatch, Wall Street Journal)

* multiple characters
 

? any single character

econom*
 

wom?n

economy, economics, economical, etc.

women, woman


Proximity operators are a way to ensure that search terms appear next to one another, within a certain number of words, or appear in the same sentence, paragraph, or field (part of a record; for example, title or abstract). "With" and "near" may have different meanings, depending on the database, so always read the help screens for details. In the descriptions below "#" may stand for any number. Some of the vendors/databases listed above do not support proximity operators, so they are not included in the chart below.

For example:

Software/Vendor/Database proximity operators example
EBSCO
(Academic Search Premier/
Business Source Complete

and many others)

[Use with keyword or Boolean search.]  

W# words in exact order, can be up to # words apart

N# words may be up to # words apart, order not important

 

tax W8 reform

tax N5 reform

OCLC/FirstSearch®
(WorldCat)

w   words in exact order

w#  words in exact order, can be # of words apart (number
      between 1-25)

n    words next to one another, order not important

n#  words may be # apart, order not important (number
      between 1-25)

successful w job

successful w3 job


successful n job

successful n3 job   

Clarivate Analytics
(Web of Science®)

SAME words in same sentence, phrase ending in a
semi-colon, or text string ending with a line break. Order not important

hepatitis SAME treatment

laser* SAME gas          

JSTOR ~ # words within specific number of words. Terms need to be within " " "debt forgiveness"~10
Readex (American State Papers,
Serial Set, Early American Imprints
)

ADJ# words within # words of each other in the same order

near# words within # words of each other in any order

Monroe ADJ3 James

Jackson near5 Florida

Science Direct

W/# (# between 1-255) words within # words of each other in any order

PRE/# words in exact order, can be # of words apart (number between 1-255)

W/SEG words must appear in same field

NOT W/# first word must appear in document; second word may also appear but only if it is not within # words of first word

pain W/15 morphine


behavioral PRE/3 disturbances

lesion W/SEG pancreatic

impaired circulation NOT W/5 diabetes

ProQuest (New York Times, Ethnic Newswatch, Wall Street Journal)

W/# words within # words of each other in any order (use with "Citation and Document Text" or "Document Text")

W/PARA words must appear in same paragraph (i.e. approximately 1000 characters) (use with "Document Text")

NOT W/# first word must appear in document; second word may also appear but only if it is not within # words of first word (use with "Citation and Document Text" or "Document Text")

PRE/# words in exact order, can be # of words apart (use with "Citation and Document Text" or "Document Text")

truth W/15 justice


court W/PARA reporter

impaired circulation NOT W/5 diabetes


environmental PRE/3 disaster

French 

LA TRONCATURE ET LES OPÉRATEURS DE PROXIMITÉ

Si vous voulez préciser, ou élargir votre recherche, demandez si la troncature et les opérateurs de proximité sont disponibles sur la base de données que vous utilisez.. Cherchez ces opérateurs bien utiles sur l'écran, dans la rubrique d'aide.

La troncature est un mécanisme qui permet de rechercher des termes multiples commençant par un préfixe donné. Par exemple; "build" accompagné d'un symbole de troncature va donner: build, bulding, buildings, builder etc…le symbole varie d'une base de données à l'autre. Le symbole de troncature est fréquemment un astérisque (*), le signe du Dollar ($) ou le signe plus (+). Dans certaines bases de données, on n'utilise la troncature que pour chercher les mots de même racine. Lisez la rubrique d'aide sur l'écran pour trouver plus de détails.

Par exemple:

Logiciel/vendeur Symbole de troncature Exemple Résultats
       
OCLC/FirstSearch® + Pluriels seulement success+ success, successes
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts * famil* family, families
WebSPIRS™ (SilverPlatter) * zéro ou plus, partout sauf la première lettre du mot.

 

? un ou zéro (joker) partout sauf la première lettre du mot.
funddr???t fund, funds, funding

 

draft, draught
Ovid® $

 

# peut remplacer strictement un caractère  

 

? pour remplacer un ou zéro caractère
disease$

 

wom#n

 


colo?r
disease, diseases

 

women, woman

 

color, colour
ISI®
Web of Science®
* n'importe quel nombre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


? peut remplacer strictement un caractère

 


?* les deux
pharmac

 

 

 


sul*ur

 

 

 

en?oblast

 

ch?mi*

 

pharmacy
pharmacology
pharmaceutics
pharmaceutical
sulphur
sulfer

 

endoblast
entoblast
chemist
chemistry
chimia
chimica
chmemie

JSTOR

(seulement le singulier et le pluriel d'un mot)

+ recherche le singulier et le pluriel des mots Anglais (uniquement). Note: Nouvelle forme de troncature, non disponible dans les logiciels listés dans ce tableau.

cat+ fox+

 

truss+

 

fizz+

 

try+

 

shelf+
cat & catsfox & foxes

 

truss & trusses

 

fizz & fizzes

 

try & tries

 

shelf & shelves

Les opérateurs de proximité sont un moyen de s'assurer que les termes de recherche apparaissent ensemble dans un certain groupe de mots, phrase, paragraphe, ou champ (partie de liste par exemple, titre ou résumé). "with" (avec) et "near" (contigus) peuvent avoir des significations différentes selon les bases de données, il est impératif de lire la rubrique d'aide sur l'écran pour trouver plus de détails.
 
Par example:

Logiciel/vendeur

Symbole de proximité exemple
     
OCLC/FirstSearch®

w mots dans l'ordre strict.

w# mots dans l'ordre strict, ou a un nombre de mots # de ce mot.

n mots contigus ordre indifférent.

n#  mots contigus ordre indifférent. ou à un nombre de mots # de ce mot.

successful w job

 

sucessful w3 job

 

successful n job

 

successful n3 job
WebSPIRS™ (SilverPlatter) near  mots d'une même phrase, ordre indifférent.

 

near# mots dans un groupe de # mots dans la même phrase

 

with  mots dans le même champ ordre indifférent
gold near discovery

 

soil near3 acid

 

conservation with wetlands
Ovid® ADJ#  deux termes ou plus, ordre indifférent cure ADJ4 cancer
ISI®

 

Web of Science®
SAME mots d'une même phrase, ordre indifférent.
SENT mots d'une même phrase, ordre indifférent.
hepatitis same treatment

 

hepatitis sent treatment
Note:  Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, and JSTOR n'utilisent pas les opérateurs de proximité.
 

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer

URL: https://libguides.colostate.edu/howtodo | Print Page