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What is Discovery?: Doing an Advanced Search

Click on the WorldCat Discovery Tab to get to the Advanced Search


The Drop-down Menus Give you Choices of Fields

Boolean Operators

In WorldCat, there are five basic Boolean operators that allow you to combine search terms within a single search field:

Operator What it does Examples
AND (all caps) This operator will cause your search to return only results that contain all of the terms entered. Acts AND tongues
OR (all caps) This operator will cause your search to return results with any of the terms entered. women OR females
NOT (all caps) This operator causes your search to exclude results that contain the term entered. Mustang NOT car
Quotation marks " " This operator will cause the search to include only results with the exact phrase entered (i.e., all of the words between the parentheses in the exact order the are entered. "Pride and Prejudice"
Parentheses ( ) Use this operator to build complex, precise searches that utilize multiple operators. "New York" AND baseball NOT (Yankees OR Mets)

Why Use the Advanced Option?

The terms you use to search will make or break your search.  When deciding what terms to use, ask yourself:

  • Are there multiple aspects of my topic that I should make sure to include in my search? (e.g. "marijuana AND legalization" rather than simply just "marijuana")
  • Do my keywords have any synonyms I should include in my search? (e.g. guns & firearms, men & males, etc.)
  • Are there multiple forms of my keyword that I should try to include in my search? (e.g. legal, legalizing, legalization, legalized, etc.)
  • Are there keywords/concepts I want to make sure are omitted? (if searching for "mustang" with reference to horses, in certain databases you may want to omit any articles the titles of which contain the words "Ford" or "car") 
  • Are the keywords I have come up with as specific as I can make them?  (words like "psychology" or "Bible" or "philosophy" are very general and will return more results than you can sort through; more specific terms like "psychoanalysis" or "prison epistles" or "ontology" are narrower and will yield more relevant results.


Advanced Search

Advanced Search


A truncation symbol is placed at the end of a word that might have multiple forms to make sure all its forms are included in the search, or in the middle of a phrase where a word is unknown. WorldCat Local uses an asterisk (*) to represent its truncation symbol. For example:

Search... Results include...
legal* legal
feminis* feminist
A Tale of * Cities A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Ten Cities
Peking: a tale of three cities


** You must enter three characters before the * for the system to recognize the search.**

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