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Boolean Operators: Refining Your Search

Boolean operators are terms used to combine logical expressions into longer, more complex expressions. In database searches, they usually refer to the conjunctions AND, OR, and NOT, which are used to narrow and refine searches. The options in the drop down menus beside each search field are boolean operators.

If you wish to further refine your search, you may include multiple terms in each search field by joining them with boolean operators. Inmagic uses characters to represent common boolean operators. Below is a table showing the Inmagic equivalents.


 

​&​AND
​/​OR
​!​NOT

When joining search terms with a boolean operator, be sure to put spaces around it. For example, 'Kidd & genealogy' not 'Kidd&genealogy.'

Searches composed of words joined by these operators are evaluated left to right. For example, the search red & white / blue will find records that include red and white or items that contain blue. You can use parentheses to control the order of evaluation. For example, a search for red & (white / blue) will find records that include red and white or red and blue. 

You may also use the proximity operators w# or p# to find words close to one another. For example, a search for John w3 Simcoe will return all records in which John appears within 3 words of Simcoe. The search County p5 Simcoe will return all records in which the word County precedes the word Simcoe by 5 words or fewer. Note that proximity operators only work with single words, not phrases.

Finally, you can use *, the truncation operator. This allows you to generalize your search. For example, a search for admin* will return any word beginning with admin-, including administrate, administrator, administration, etc.