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CGS 1555: Boolean Operators

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are words or symbols that are used to combine or exclude words when doing a keyword search. You can use these in library databases and when searching with an Internet search engine, like Google or Bing. 

Here are the most popular ones with a description of how they work!

Boolean operators
Boolean Operator Example


allows you to limit the results by requiring that results have the two words or phrases 

Robots AND Military

(This will find only results that include both robots and military - so you will get fewer results) 


allows you to expand your results by requiring that results have either of the two words or phrases

earbuds OR headphones 

(This will find results that include either earbuds or headphones - so you will get MORE results)

NOT (or -

allows you to exclude a word from your results 


NOT Bananas   ( -Bananas)

(This will find only results that do not include the word that you have listed, so you will get fewer results)



allows you to exclude an entire website from the search


(This will find results that are from websites that are NOT Wikipedia)

" "

allows you to search for an exact phrase

"spotting scope" 

(This will find only results that have the phrase "spotting scope")


Better Searching / Google

Google allows users to do a much more efficient search with the knowledge and use of some special words and symbols!

Additionally, they have an Advanced Search page that has the boolean operators included within the search.