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WRPR 132: Writing about Beethoven (HC)

Search Tips

Boolean operators: 

AND, OR, NOT allow you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.


Beethoven AND reception



piano OR klavier



Ludwig NOT Johann (Beethoven's father)


Phrase searching:

An important strategy to employ when searching phrasal concepts or conducting known-item searches for titles:

  • For example, The Ruins of Athens will search for The AND Ruins AND of AND Athens.
  • However, "The Ruins of Athens" in quotation marks will search for the Beethoven composition.


Nested Searching:

When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is helfpul to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.

  • For example, Beethoven AND (Ludwig OR Louis).
  • 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 symphon* to find symphony, symphonies, symphonic, and so on.
  • Wildcard searching works similarly: a search for mu??k would return musik (Ger), muzak, and so on.
  • Combining the two, viol?n* would return violin, violinist, violon (Fr), violoniste (Fr), violino (It), and so on.