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ProQuest Congressional & Executive Branch Documents: Search Syntax

Boolean Operators Tip

Singular and plural: The search does not distinguish between plural and singular forms of a word. For example, a search on Treaties will return content containing either Treaties or Treaty.

Case sensitivity: Search terms are not case-sensitive, so words may be entered in upper or lower case.

As of 4/30/2013, boolean operators may be in either upper or lower case.

Phrase Searching

TIP:  To search for a phrase, put the phrase in quotes to retrieve terms together.  For example "debt ceiling" or "gross national product".

Quoted phrase results may bring back results that include the listed stop words (noted below) or plurals.

Unquoted multiple word queries are treated as an AND statement.

Stop Words

The following words (case insensitive) are words that will not generate a search term in keyword searching unless surrounded with quotations:   near,  a,  an,  the, on,  in, *,  ?,  

Wildcards

 

 

?

 

Replaces a single letter (either within the word or at the end of a word)

     mari?uana =  marijuana and marihuana

     watche? = watches, watched, watcher

 

 

*

 

Replaces an infinite number of letter following a root word. Use the truncation character at the beginning (left-hand truncation), the end (right-hand truncation), or in the middle of search terms.   

     foreclos* = foreclose, foreclosed, and foreclosure

 

Boolean Operators and Phrase Searching

(As of 4/30/2013, boolean operators may be in either upper or lower case.)

Rule

Example

Will Find Any Document

Default keyword search connection now uses an implied AND.

Iran Iraq

With both Iran and Iraq in it

 

 

All boolean operators  – AND, OR, NOT – in the text box will be considered as Boolean operators unless enclosed in quotation marks.

Iran and Iraq

Iran or Iraq

Iran not Iraq

With both Iran and Iraq in it

 

With either Iran or Iraq in it

 

With Iran in it but not Iraq

To look for an exact match for a multi-term phrase enclose all terms in quotation marks.

"Iran and Iraq"

With exact phrase "Iran and Iraq" in it.

 

To connect a multi-term phrase to another search term via Boolean connecter use quotation marks.

"Iran Contra" AND Iraq

With phrase Iran Contra and the term Iraq in it.

NEAR & ALLCAPS

NEAR

To find a document with words NEAR each other use Iran NEAR/5 Iraq to find the phrase with the words Iran and Iraq within 5 words of each other. For example “The southwest corner of Iran about 120 miles from Iraq.”

The default NEAR value is 100 words.

   TIP:  If you use two more more NEAR operators in the same query, they must be separated by a Boolean operator. For example: 

            (Iran NEAR/5 USA) or (China NEAR/5 Taiwan) and (Petroleum NEAR/3 Spot Market)

In your results, where you have a full-text PDF document, there is a preview icon with PDF links to the document containing your search words. You will see a preview of the number of words (or search "hits") indicated next to each 50-page PDF chunk and well as the complete document option. To see more detail about your hits, such as the words or forms of words found and in which chunks they were found, open the abstract and view the specific words next to each chunk in parentheses. This can save you time downloading, reading, and analyzing your results. Use a PDF reader on- or offline to go to your search hits in the PDF.

KNOWN BUG as of 7/20/15- When you use the proximity command NEAR/# in a search, the word NEAR and the number is also displayed in the parentheses next to PDF chunks. This affects the display only and not the results of the search itself.

 

ALLCAPS

Brings back results with the letters in parens in caps.  For example,   ALLCAPS(epa)  brings back results with the three letters EPA in all caps. Ensure that there is no space between the ALLCAPS command and the open parens, i.e. ALLCAPS(idea).

Order of Operands

The query builder works from left to right so any Boolean connectors and other operators are read in that order. 

To create a query nesting ORs and ANDs (etc) to your specifications, use parentheses to group complex search phrases connected with Boolean connectors and other operators.

 (("Iran and Iraq") and (USA NEAR/5 China)) or ((Syria NEAR/3 Hezbollah) and ("Russian Arms Supplies"))

This query asks for documents that have satisfied the conditions in first double parentheses OR have satisfied the conditions within the second set of double parentheses.