Using Databases

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Nesting is the use of parentheses to put your keywords into sets. It preserves the "logic" of your keyword search.

Example: (feminine or female) and stereotype

This keyword search will retrieve records that contain the word feminine or female or both of these words.  The record must also contain either the word stereotype.  Nesting is often used when search terms have similar meanings, such as the words movie, film, and motion picture.

Truncation is used to find different forms of words in a keyword search. IUCAT, the IU Library catalog, uses the dollar sign ($) and the question mark (?) as truncation symbols. Another commonly used truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). The "help" function in the database usually tells you which symbol to use and where.  Examples: A search for “fem$” will retrieve records that include words such as female, feminine, feminist, etc.  A search for “wom?n”  will retrieve records that include the words woman or women.

 

Tip

Use truncation carefully. It is often better to use the "or" operator and nesting to do a search.
See an Example

 
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