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Database Searching Tips


Truncation is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings. Using the asterisk (*) in your search minimizes the number of keywords you have to type. To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end.


elect* = election, electoral, elections
econ* = economy, economic, economics, econometric
politi* = politics, political, politician

The most commonly used truncation symbol is an asterisk (*).


Wildcards are similar to truncation, but substitute a symbol for just one character.


wom?n = woman, women

democrati?ation = democratisation, democratization

defen?e = defence, defense

19?? = any  number between 1900 and 1999

The most commonly used single wildcard symbol is a question mark.

  • Some databases uses the pound (#) symbol. 

If in doubt, check the help screens of the database you're using.