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ENG104 Warren

A custom library website for Amy Warren's lovely ENG 104 students.

Top 3 search tips

  1. Start big.Funnel

    1. Start your searches with the most important idea. If you get a lot of search results, you can add in more search terms. Adding more terms means you'll get fewer search results.
    2. If you get very few search results, you know you've either searched with the wrong word, or there isn't a lot available on your topic.
  2. Use quotation marks.Quotation marks

    1. Use quotation marks around your search terms to search for the words in the exact order you would like, instead of separately.
  3. Try, and try again.Interative searching goes around and around!

    1. Searching is both a process and a result. Finding information isn't a one-and-done exercise. It is a process where you try something, assess what you found, and make changes and improvements. Each change means you'll find new information.
    2. As you learn more about your topic, you will need to search more for new information.
    3. Search in multiple places. That means trying different library databases (we have over 90), the library catalog, and Google.

Create better database searches with AND, OR, & NOT

Use these three powerful little words - called Boolean operators - to create better searches.

What are Boolean operators?

Boolean operators are words that we use to link two or more keywords while searching. Linking your keywords with the words AND, OR, and NOT help to expand or narrow the results you get while searching.

AND

  • AND tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you are requiring both terms to be in your results. Linking two keywords with the word AND ensures that all of your search results have keyword #1 AND keyword #2.
  • Use this Boolean operator when you are comparing, contrasting, or otherwise relating two keywords!
  • Example: "peanut butter"  AND jelly 
    • Will only show me results that contain both peanut butter AND jelly, because I want both of them.

OR

  • OR tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you are okay with either keyword (or both keywords) appearing in your search results. Linking two keywords with the word OR ensure that all results with have either keyword #1 OR keyword #2 OR both.
  • Use this operator to link synonyms (words that mean the same thing). 
  • Example: jelly OR jam
    • Will return results that include jelly, jam, and jelly and jam. This is because these words are interchangeable and I'm okay with seeing results with either word.

NOT

  • NOT  tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you only want results containing one keyword, but NOT the other. Linking two keywords with the word NOT will only return results containing keyword #1 but NOT keyword #2.
  • Use this Boolean operator when you have noticed that searching for keyword #1 also returns results about keyword #2, but that is not what you are looking for.
  • Example: jelly NOT grape
    • Will return results that contain jelly, but NOT results that contain grape, because I'm not looking for information on grape jelly.

 

Set of three Venn diagrams showing the relationship between keywords when AND, OR, and NOT are used in a search.

What are you searching?

Different search scopes in CCC Library's catalog.CCC Library has a variety of databases and search tools that offer you free, high-quality, academic information. Start here. Or try Google, then come back here when you get stuck. ;-)

  • CCC Library Catalog
    • CCC Library: books, eBooks, videos, and other items at CCC Library
    • CCC + Summit: books, eBooks, videos, and other items available at CCC Library and 38 Summit libraries
    • CCC + Summit + Articles: books, eBooks, videos, and other items at CCC Library and 38 Summit libraries, and a sizable portion of CCC Library's article databases
  • Databases A-Z list
    • articles, eBooks, streaming videos from CCC Library's individual databases, including EBSCO
  • Subject Guides
    • lists of subject-specific databases that are unique to your topic (e.g., Nursing)

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