An effective way of searching in catalogs and databases is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), which make it possible to retrieve relevant results and to limit and expand searches as needed.
For example, a search for Resnais AND Holocaust will return items that contain both "Resnais" and "Holocaust":
Resnais OR Holocaust returns items that contain either "Resnais" or "Holocaust" or both:
Resnais NOT Holocaust returns items that contain "Resnais" but not "Holocaust":
It's important to use quotation marks when you are interested in searching for a phrase of two or more words.
For example, Hiroshima Mon Amour will search for Hiroshima AND Mon AND Amour.
However, "Hiroshima Mon Amour" in quotation marks will search for Resnais' film of the same name.
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, (memory OR nostalgia) AND Resnais will return results for Resnais and any one (or both) of the parenthetical 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, searching for politic* will bring up results containing politic, politics, political, politicking, and so on.
Wildcard searching works similarly: a search for t??th will return results for teeth, tooth, tenth, and so on.