Conducting keyword searches for additional texts
(N.B. – These are instructions for searching within Tripod, which contains items held by Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swartmore Colleges. To find books not held by the Tri-Colleges, use WorldCat, which searches library catalogs from around the U.S. and the world.)
The large number of citations in many catalogs and databases requires one to limit otherwise broad or general searches in order to retrieve a manageable and pertinent number of results. Conversely, overly narrow search terms can return too few results. One way of solving both problems is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), which allow one to limit or expand searches depending on his or her needs.
For example, a search for Mongolian AND phonology will return items that contain both "Mongolian" and "phonology":
Mapuche OR Mapudungun returns items that contain either "Mapuche" or "Mapudungun" or both:
Korean NOT nuclear returns items that contain "Korean" but not "nuclear":
An important strategy for one to employ when researching phrasal concepts (e.g., "International Phonetic Association") or conducting known-item searches for titles:
For example, Chinese language grammar (no quotation marks) will search for results wherein Chinese AND language AND grammar appear anywhere.
However, "Chinese language grammar" in quotation marks will search for results with that exact phrase.
Nested Searching:When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is helpful to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.
For example, (Mapuche OR Mapudungun) AND grammar will return results for grammar AND either of the first two terms.
(Many catalogs or databases will have an "advanced search" option, which provides multiple search bars to facilitate nested searching.)
Truncation and Wildcards:
Most catalogs and databases enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.
For example, one could search for Mapudundu* to find Mapudungu and Mapudungun. (You could truncate it at Mapu* as well to include Mapuche, but you will get many irrelevant results.)
Wildcard searching works similarly: a search for t??th will return results for teeth, tooth, tenth, and so on.