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UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

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History Day

Research resources and help for students participating in History Day

Boolean Operators

These terms enable combinations of words (i.e. your keywords) to be searched at one time with different results, depending on the Boolean Operator used. 

AND

venn diagram showing that you get back overlap if you use the Boolean Operator AND with your two keywords in a search

  • Using AND retrieves results containing both keywords (history AND America)
  • This narrows your results and brings back fewer results because they most contain both keywords

OR

venn diagram showing that you get all the results back if you use the Boolean Operator OR between two keywords in searching

  • Using OR retrieves results containing at least one of the terms (history OR past)
  • As this is counter-intuitive to natural language that we use in everyday speech, if you get confused, consider this phrase: OR IS MORE

NOT

Venn Diagram showing that you only get results for the first keyword when you use the Boolean Operator Not

  • Using not retrieves results answers containing one term but not the other (archives NOT newspapers)
  • This is a good way to exclude terms that are coming up when you search, but do not relate to your topic