Skip to Main Content

PBSC Library's Electronic Resources (Loxahatchee Groves): How do I search databases?

A guide created for Loxahatchee Campus students

Searching Databases

Searching databases is not difficult!  After selecting a database to search, there will generally be a search box to enter keywords.  After searching, there are options to narrow down results such as publication date, publication type, etc. 

See below for some advanced tips on searching databases using what are called "boolean search operators."

Combining more than one keyword

The default for most search engines and databases is to search keywords.  This searches for the words anywhere in the document.  Keywords can be combined with the search operators AND, OR, and NOT.

AND will search for documents that have two or more words.  For example, the search congress AND bill AND law AND President will search for documents that contain all four of those words

OR will search for words that have at least one of the words specified.  This is good for searching for words with a similar meaning.  For example, the search law OR legislation will search for documents containing either the word law or the word legislation.

NOT will eliminate results containing a particular word.  For example, the search NOT Senate will take out results containing the word Senate.


How to search a database (from the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University)

Venn Diagram of Boolean Search Operators

Searching as a phrase

Searching words as a phrase will search for those words right next to each other.

For example, the search "electoral college" will search for the word electoral right next to the word college in a document.


Truncation is an advanced search term to have a symbol as a placeholder for one or more characters.

Common symbols used for truncation include *, !, and ?

For example, the search wom*n will search for woman and woman.