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Searching for Articles & Using Databases


Be careful where you place a truncation symbol!

Don't shorten your word too much or you may come up with entirely irrelevant results. 


Politic* will retrieve

  • politic
  • politics
  • political
  • politically
  • politician
  • politicians


If you want all forms of the word culture, and you type cul*, you will retrieve the following:

  • cults
  • cultivate
  • culinary
  • culminate
  • culotte
  • culprit

Truncation Symbols

Truncation allows you to search for a root form of a word and pick up any ending.

Sometimes words have different spellings, or you may need different forms of the word, such as singular and plural forms and different suffixes. By truncating a word, you will broaden your search and ensure that you retrieve all items containing a form of the word.

Here is a chart showing some possible truncation symbols, which may vary by database. Consult the database’s “help” or “search tips” pages for details.

The various symbols used as wildcards and what they do
Operator What it Finds Example Search Results
* Unlimited number of letters Child* Children, Child, Childhood, etc.
! 0-1 letter Teen! Teens
? 1 letter for every ? Buck?? Bucked, Buckle

You can also use truncations symbols in the middle of words to pull up variations on that word:

Wom?n=women, woman, womyn

Gr?y=gray, grey