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Boolean Operators

A Boolean search is a search that uses the logical (i.e., Boolean) operators (AND, OR, NOT, -) in addition to the keywords.

  • AND: The AND operator tells the search engine to return only documents with all the keywords you entered.  This operator narrows the search and returns fewer search results

  • OR: The OR operator tells the search engine to return documents if they contain one or more keywords.   

  • NOT: The NOT operator tells the search engine to exclude documents from a search if they contain the keywords.

  • - Operator: The “-“ operator is the same as the NOT operator and tells the search engine to exclude documents from a search if they contain the keywords.

 

Note: Boolean operators are not case sensitive. For example, entering and or AND will return the same results.

Procedure

The procedure for designing and executing a search query with Boolean operators is as follows:

 

Step 1. Decide what words you want to search for in your query and what words you don’t want to search for in your query

Step 2. Add Boolean operators between words or phrases to tell the search engine how to use the keywords in a search.

Step 3. Click on the Search button to execute your search and return a Search Results page.

Examples

Query

Retrieves

Notes

congressional and hearing

Documents with both the word "congressional" and "hearing" anywhere inside the document

 

congressional or executive

Documents with either the word "congressional" or "executive" or both

 

congressional not report

Documents with the word "congressional" but not the word "report"

 

congressional -report

Documents with the word "congressional" but not the word "report"

The "-" operator can be used in place of the not operator, but  must prefix the word (or expression) without any intervening spaces.

congressional and not report

Documents with the word "congressional" but not the word "report"

The operators "and not" behaves the same as "not.”

"ways and means"

Documents with the words "ways", "and", and "means" in the specified order, right next to each other

Since “and” is part of the phrase in quotes, it is treated as part of the phrase instead of being treated as an operator.

ways "and" means

Documents with the words "ways", "and", and "means" anywhere in the document.

Since “and” is in quotes, it is treated as a phrase instead of being treated as an operator.

title:environment and member:mikulski

Documents with the word "environment" in the title and "mikulski" in the member field

 

title:(hearing or meeting)

Documents with either "hearing" or "meeting" in the title field

 

title:chesapeake and title:bay

Documents with both the word "chesapeake" and the word "bay" in the metadata title field, but not necessarily in order

 

congressional and not report

Documents with the word “congressional” but not the word “report”

The phrase "and not" behaves the same as "not".

congressional not (committee report)

Documents with the word "congressional" but not if they contain both the words "committee" and "report"

 

congressional not (committee or meeting)

Documents with “congressional” but not “committee”; documents with “congressional” but not “meeting”

 

congressional -(committee or meeting)

Documents with “congressional” but not “committee”; documents with “congressional” but not “meeting”

The "-" operator works with parenthetical expressions as well.

 

 


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