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Research Databases: Internet Searching

What is Boolean Searching

Boolean searching is the traditional way to search for information in most online databases and on the Internet.

To perform a Boolean search, use connectors (called operators) like AND, OR ande NOT.  

AND retrieves records that contain ALL of the search terms. For example, cooking AND Spain, business AND ethics.

OR retrieves records that contain ANY of the search terms, but does not necessarily include all of them. For example, theater OR theatre, www OR world wide web.

NOT excludes records containing the second search term. For example, java NOT coffee, Clinton NOT (William OR Bill).    

Google Search/Website Evaluation

Evaluate your selection before using:

1. Authority?

  • An individual? An organization? An educational institution?
  • What education or experience makes them an expert?

2. Objectivity?

  • What is the purpose of the site?
  • Basic information? Persuasion? Selling something?
  • What is the motive? Beware of bias (especially from .orgs)

3. Currency?

  • When was the site created? Last updated?
  • Is this current enough for my research?
  • Do the links work?

4. Content Quality?

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Does the author credit sources or give references?
    • References are different than links to “additional information”!

Internet Searching Tips

Get a different perspective. Use these country codes to get search results from around the world

Purdue OWL: Searching the World Wide Web

Provides information on the different ways of locating material on the Web including using search engines, searching the invisible Web, and using Web directories.

Invisible (or Deep) Web information, from UC Berkeley

Explains why 'typical' Internet searches don't search the whole Internet...and what you can do to access the invisible web.

Google Search Query Formation

Word Order Matters

Search Tips


Do you use Wikipedia? Learn more about it from this site.

Internet Archive

What Happens on the Internet Stays on the Internet

Look Up Who Owns A Website Domain