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CAL 103: Writing and Communication

This guide will help CAL 103 students get started with their research.

Seach Box


Search Term Equivalents

The language and methods of search engines and databases are similar in some ways, but databases require more structured searching than do search engines.

Below find a breakdown of the different but similar terms used in most library resources and Google, and how to use these terms in your search. See Database Search Help for a list of search help sites for most of our major databases.



Search Term Equivalents: Databases & Search Engines

Term Library Databases Google

ex: [strawberry AND banana]

OneSearch also accepts

ex: [strawberry +banana]

N/A (it's automatically included when 2+ words are listed)


ex: [strawberry NOT banana]

OneSearch also accepts

ex: [strawberry -banana]




ex: [strawberry OR banana]


# (single letter)
$ (multiple letters)

ex: [engine#] = engine, engines

Truncation: *

ex: [engine*] =
engine, engineer, engineering, engineered (etc.)

ex: [lemon * muffins] =
lemon blueberry muffins, lemon poppy-seed muffins
Exact phrase

"Exact phrase"

ex: "mechanical engineering"

"Exact phrase"

Other Searching Tips

Within a site:

ex: [egypt]

Social media search:

Let's Get Boolean

"Boolean" search terms (named for George Boole, 19th century English mathematician) refer to the usage of and, not, and or to unite keywords in search strings. The different terms return different results:

A AND B = The narrowest: Results that only include both keywords A and B

A NOT B = Results that include A except where B is also mentioned

A OR B = The broadest: Everything that mentions A and everything that mentions B

Searching the Internet

The internet is a wild place; here is some useful info to help you search it better.