Keywords allow you to construct a search that reflects multiple issues in your research question. Building sets of related concepts and looking for their overlaps gives you more relevant and precise results. This approach is called Boolean searching using the operators AND, OR, NOT.
A search for calligraph* AND chinese will return items that contain both words including the variations calligraphy/ic because of the truncation *:
ming OR qing returns items that cover either or both of the dynasties:
visual NOT art returns items that discuss the visual but do not mention art:
Enclose phrases in quotations marks. This is an important strategy for getting exact results when searching phrases (e.g., "brush stroke*") or conducting known-item searches for titles ("Chinese Writing and Calligraphy") .
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 politic* to find poltic, politics, political, politicians, and so on.
Wildcard searches are for differences within words: a search for wom?n will return results for woman, women, and womyn.
When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is important to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.
calligraph* AND (china OR chinese) AND (writing OR characters) will return results for the intersection of the three subject areas.