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Boolean Searching

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet

There’s something about learning a funny technological word that brings out the geek in everyone! Today’s subject is one that will help everyone work more efficiently while searching on the Internet. It’s called “Boolean”.


Say you’re looking for a specific thing on the web, but every time you search it seems as though there are too many results, and to go through all of them would take hours! Boolean operators can streamline this process; giving you a more refined search. Here are a few to try out:

Yes, putting quotes around your search terms looks for the words or phrase exactly as typed. If you put in “Granola Bars” the sites returned will have only those words in their exact order. This is my favorite one to use when I’m looking for a specific file or subject and want to skip all the browsing around.

The operator “and” is used to combine search terms so that information is only retrieved if all terms occur in the same document. So if you’re looking for “Doctors and Lawyers”, type in that phrase, and what will be returned are documents with both keywords in them.

“Not” prevents retrieval of documents in which specified terms occur together. This operator is also good to use when a keyword has multiple meanings. So the search “milk not butter” will find documents where “milk” occurs but “butter” doesn’t.

“Or” combines keywords so the retrieved documents contain any or all of the keywords. Most search engines don’t need this though, as they assume this as the operator being used already.

Till’ next time!


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