Boolean SearchingDifferent Types of Searching:
Many databases offer controlled vocabulary or a standardized vocabulary. This is where a preferred word or keyword is used for describing and searching words and concepts. These words are selected for controlled vocabularies by specialists and they directly related to the subjects contained in the database’s collection.

Using words that describe what you are searching for, but which aren’t necessarily in a controlled vocabulary is known as free-text searching.

Wildcards and Truncation:
Using a wildcard symbol like *, #, ? or $ (depending on the database) will truncate your search terms to allow for broad searching. This can be combined with boolean searching to create a specific search.

For example: teach* will search the database for: teachER, teachERS, teachING

And you could do: student* AND teach* to get images of students and teachers or students teaching other students.

Use of Quotation Marks for Phrase Searching:
Using quotation marks around two terms allows for more specific searching than just boolean searching.

For example: “on campus” would yield better results than on AND campus as in this case ON might be considered a stop word by the database and be eliminated from the search returning too many images related to the word CAMPUS.

Stop Words:
These are words that are unnecessary in a search. They are words like is, a, and of. These words are overlooked by a search engine because they are common in occurrence and would return too many results.

Refining Your Search:
Be aware of spellings of words. Some databases may only include British or American spellings. Also check names of people, like well known figures as their names or initials may be spelled inconsistently.

If you get too many results consider adding search terms to make your search more specific.

If you get too few search results consider adding synonyms or more generic terms.