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Columbia: Searching Sources

Advanced search tools

How does using advanced search tools benefit me?

There are so many web sites, ebooks, journals, etcetera that someone can quickly become overwhelmed by the number of results from using a simple search.

Web sites often contain the same information that has been repeated from other sites. In some cases, such as blogs, the result is simply a link to another blog, which may contain a link to another blog, which may contain a link to another blog, which get the picture.

By knowing how to use advanced search tools you can go ahead and filter out a lot of what you don't want or need.

Advanced search tools help find exactly what you're looking for!


Abstracts are basic information about a document. They don't include all of an article, just some basics and usually a short summary.

Thus it's best to check "full text" when using a database so that you get the entire article.

However, not all articles are available in full text everywhere!

If all you're finding are abstracts then be sure to ask the LRC Manager for help.

Database Advanced Search Offerings

  • Databases offer many opportunities to narrow your search. They might offer the ability to search by:
    • Year(s) published
    • Resource type(s) such as magazines, audio books, reports, etcetera
    • Subject
    • Publication title
    • Author
    • Language
    • Document title

You may even be able to say "if it doesn't have images, I don't want it"!

Helpful Links

Searching Sources Tutorial from Vaughan Memorial Library

Permission of use granted by Vaughan Memorial LibraryPermission of use granted by Vaughan Memorial Library

3 Most Common Boolean Operators

representation of boolean AND operator

representation of boolean OR operator

representation of boolean NOT operator

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