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Sisters in the Struggle: Kentucky Women in the Civil Rights Era, 1920s-1970s: Search Strategies

General Search Strategies

To retrieve the most relevant results, construct a search string: a combination of keywords, truncation symbols, and boolean operators (see below) in the search box of an electronic library resource or an Internet search engine.

Truncation/Wildcard Symbols

Truncation or wildcard symbols can broaden your search and allow you to look for word variations. For example, searching sport* would bring up variations such as sport, sports, sporting, sporty, etc. 

Note: The truncation symbol varies depending on the electronic resource you are searching. For more information, consult the database’s “help” or “search tips” pages.

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Search Strategies

Search Features & Strategies Examples
Search queries are not case sensitive.

Barack Obama or  barack obama will retrieve the same results.


Results will typically include each word or punctuation mark included in the search query. Some stop words or exceptions apply.

A search for blue suede shoes will bring up results that include songs, shoe stores that sell that type of shoe, and fashion sites.

Keep search queries simple and descriptive. Use as few terms as possible. Avoid natural language queries as they can limit your results.

Use colorado statehood instead of when did colorado first become a state.

Google automatically truncates search terms. To prevent automatic truncation, use a + sign in front of each term.

A query on child retrieves results with terms such as "children" and "childcare." A query on +child retrieves results with the workd "child."

Use quotations marks to search terms as a phrase and to narrow your results. When searching in Google using quotation marks, the results will have exact terms in the exact order typed.

A query on "Barack Hussein Obama II" will retrieve only those sites that refer to "Barack Hussein Obama II." The results will not include sites that refer to him as Barack or Obama or other versions of his name.

Use the site feature to limit your results to a specific website or class of websites.

The query cloning will only retrieve articles about cloning from the online version of the Wall Street Journal. A query on cloning will only retrieve results within the government domain.

To allow for either of several words to appear in your results, use the OR operator. The operator must be in all caps.

The query hotel OR lodging OR inn directories will retrieve any or all of the types of directories mentioned.