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Basic Search

Tips for conducting your searches in library catalogues and databases.


You can use the terms AND, OR and NOT to improve your search.  

AND allows you to search for only the material that contains all your search terms.  See how this works with Toronto AND Pollution

Venn diagram showing AND search strategy


Using OR in your search allows you to get more results.  Use this when there may be many ways to describe one concept and join your synonyms with OR.  You will get results containing ALL the words for that concept.


When you are searching for a term but do not wants results which contain a certain aspect or type of that term use NOT.  For example, if you were search for mullet (the fish) and did not want to get results for mullet (the hairstyle) you would use the search phrase Mullet NOT Hair

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