Thursday, March 17, 2005


Did you know that each database/search interface/ search engine has its own truncation symbols?

These handy dandy symbols help when you either choose to bypass a controlled vocabulary in favor of textword and phrase searching or you must use textword and phrase searching since the system is not based on a controlled vocabulary.

Textword and/or phrase searching relies on you (yup, you!) to accommodate for all variations in word endings. And the best way to do that is to use the truncation symbol. Here are some examples:

$ unlimited number of characters [computer$.ti.]
$n restrict retrieval to indicated number of characters [computer$3.ti. retrieves computer or computers or computerize, but not computerization]

* unlimited number of characters for the first 600 variations of a truncated term [computer*]

Web of Science

* unlimited number of characters [biolog* retrieves biology, biologist, biologists, biological]


? unlimited number of characters [environ? retrieves environment, environmental, environs]

Now where do you find out what the truncation and wildcards are for a new database?

Check the HELP screens! It’s all revealed right there.


Post a Comment

<< Home