Boolean operators are named for George Boole (1815-1864), an English Mathematician and Philosopher. Boolean Algebra and Symbolic Logic both derive from his work. Boole is generally considered the father of modern computer science. Most electronic indexes (databases) require the use of Boolean operators in parsing search terms, although this is not always apparent. Boolean search statements are incredibly powerful in retrieving what you need provided 1) the statement is formatted correctly and 2) your choice of search terms is correct for the topic you are researching.
Rather than typing a full sentence or question into a search box, using Boolean operators can help you create an efficient and effective database search. In order to use Boolean operators, you need to know:
Truncation: A symbol, specific to the search interface, which allows the retrieval of all endings for the specified base word
Wildcard: A symbol, specific to the search interface, which allows the retrieval of various spellings of a word
Search the help screens for the search interface you are using to determine which Boolean and Proximity operators are being used and what the truncation and wildcard symbols are.
Example Boolean search statements
land grant and divers*
("Historically Black Colleges and Universities" or HBCU) and women
student organizations and (lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender or queer or LGBT or LGBTQ)
corps* and hazing
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