If you search a catalog or database and receive a large number of results, add a limit or additional keyword in order to retrieve a manageable and relevant number of results to review. At the same time 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 you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.
For example, a search for drag AND art will return items that contain both concepts:
gay OR queer returns items that contain either one of the concepts or both:
Germany NOT Finland returns items that talk about Germany but do not mention Finland:
An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("black and white") or titles:
For example, "drag queen" AND art
will search for those words in that order, finding 18 results.
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, politicking, 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.
drag AND art AND queer will return results for the union of the three subject areas