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Searching tips

Each library catalogue, database or search engine may work differently so check the online Help for tips specific to the resource you're searching.

Find word variations or alternate spellings by adding a truncation symbol to the end of terms.Internet search engines like Google will automatically search for variations of search terms.
Common truncation symbol is an * (asterisk). adolescen* will find adolescent, adolescents,adolescence
Wildcards Substitute a wildcard symbol for a single letter (character) of a word. This is very useful for searching spelling variations (American, British).
organi?ation will find organisation and organization.

enclose "a phrase" in quotation marks

"Australian history"

Limit a search term to a particular part of a catalogue or database record. Use the drop down boxes on the search screen to specify that search terms are retrieved from a particular field.

author, title, subject.
Near Operator(N)

Use N to find words within a specified range of other words, regardless of the order in which they appear.

drug N5 addiction will find results that match drug addiction as well as addiction to drugs., and the word drug within 5 words of addiction.
Within Operator (W)

Use W to find words if they are within a specified range of other words and in the order in which you entered them.

alcohol W8 abuse will find results that match alcohol abuse but will not match abuse of alcohol.
Nesting In a complex search statement, use parentheses (round brackets) to keep search terms together. (teenage* OR adolescen* OR youth*) AND alcohol*