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Research Guides

Library Quick Start Guide for Students

Welcome to the Claremont Colleges Library! Use this guide to get oriented and learn the basics of what the library has to offer.

Database Search Strategies

When you search a database such as Music Index, it is important to think about how your search terms will be interpreted by the computer. Your search can consist of single words or phrases, or you can combine terms. Single term searches are usually no problem, but if you are searching for a combination of terms, such as in the examples below, it is important to combine those terms effectively. To combine terms effectively in a database search you can use the "operators" and, or, and not.

AND retrieves only those records in which all search terms are present
     Sweeney Todd and characters

OR retrieves all records containing one or more of the search terms:
    cast or characters 

NOT retrieves only those records which include the first term but do not include the second term:
    Sweeney Todd not film
(The operator NOT should be used sparingly because it often eliminates relevant records) 

You can also create fairly complex search statements using several "operators" combined with appropriate use of parentheses.
    Sweeney Todd and (cast or characters)

Truncation symbols (usually an *) will yield different forms of the same base word; for example, character* will yield the words character, characters, characterization, etc.


Boolean Searching

The search logic you use when you search databases (when you use and, or, and not to combine terms) is called Boolean logic. Here are some tutorials on the web that you may find helpful in better understanding how to use Boolean logic when you search.

After you watch a tutorial, rate its helpfulness.