Search Tips for Selected Databases



Links on the Page

CSA Technology Research Database

Engineering Village

IEEE Xplore

Inside Web (British Library)

OCLC First Search (WorldCat)

OVID Databases (Current Contents)

USPTO (Patents Database)

Voyager (UIUC's ILLINET Online)

Web of Science (Science Citation Index)



CSA Technology Research Database

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is adjacency.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

No left-hand wildcards are allowed.

? is an internal and right-hand wildcard that substitutes for exactly one character.

Example: col?r returns color.

* is an internal and right-hand wildcard that substitutes for an unlimited number of characters.

Example: rat* returns rats, rationalize, rationality.

Boolean Operators

In an advanced search, possible operators are AND, OR, and NOT, which can be grouped with parentheses.

In an advanced search, WITHIN can also be used for proximity searching.

Example: (thrust) WITHIN 5 (fuel) finds these two terms within five terms of each other, in either order.

Other Tips

To search for report numbers in the Aerospace Database, search the "Other Numbers" field and separate the parts of the report number with spaces or hyphens.

Example: NU=nasa-cr-201705

In an author search, the author's name must be entered exactly. Aerospace Database uses both initials and first names.

Example: Porch, W. and Porch, William must both be entered in order to retrieve all relevant records.

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Engineering Village

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is AND, with auto-stemming applied.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

? is a left-hand, internal, and right-hand wildcard that substitutes for exactly one character.

Example: wom?n returns woman, women.

* is a left-hand, internal, and right-hand wildcard that substitutes for an multiple characters.

Example: patent* retrieves patent, patents, patented.

Boolean Operators

In Quick Search, you can use dropdown boxes to specify the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT.

In Expert Search, you can use these same operators nested within parentheses.

Example: (a OR b) NOT c

Other Tips

If you don't use parentheses to specify the order of operation in an Expert Search, the operation will be performed left-to-right.

Searching is NOT case-sensitive.

In Quick Search, terms are automatically stemmed, except in the case of the Author field.

When you're searching the Author field, always use the truncation symbol (*), because author searching depends on an exact match.

Example: Searching 'wong d' will return no results. Instead, search 'wong d*'

Report numbers can be searched in INSPEC, but not in Compendex. There must be a space or hyphen between the parts of a report number.

Example: mpa-981.rn

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IEEE Xplore

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is a phrase search, with stemming applied.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

? is a left-hand, internal, and right-hand wildcard that substitutes for exactly one character.

* is a left-hand, internal, and right-hand wildcard that substitutes for zero or an unlimited number of characters.

Boolean Operators

Possible Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT.

Other Tips

Use quotation marks around the search string to search for an exact phrase.

Example: "red lasers"

In an advanced search, use <and>, <or>, and <not> instead of AND, OR, and NOT.

In an advanced search, use along with the relevant field code to specify which field to search.

Example: "acoustic emission" ti--means look for the phrase "acoustic emission" as a string in the title.

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Inside Web (British Library)

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is AND.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

Right-hand wildcards only.

$ is the wildcard symbol. Limit the number of characters truncated by putting a number after the $.

Example: film$1 returns films, but not filming or film-based.

Boolean Operators

Possible Boolean operators are AND, OR, NOT, XOR, ADJ, NEAR, WITH, SAME, NOT WITH, NOT SAME, NOT NEAR, and NOT ADJ.

Advanced Search provides drop-down boxes for choosing Boolean operators.

Other Tips

In a Quick Search, you can use field quantifiers. When using a field quantifier, you must have periods surrounding the field code.

Example: smith.auth returns the term 'smith' in the field 'author.'

Always use the truncation symbol in an author search. Doing so will return more results.

Example: mischo-w-h$ returns more results than mischo-w-h.

Remember to remove any stop words from an Advanced Search. Enclosing a string in quotations will not make any difference, either.

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OCLC First Search (WorldCat)

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is AND.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

Left-hand wildcards are not allowed.

# allows for a single character within a word.

Example: wom#n returns woman, women.

? within a word allows for any number of characters. You can specify the maximum number of characters returned by typing a number after this symbol.

Example: col?2r returns color, colour.

+ at the end of a word allows for the plural form.

Example: giraffe+ will also return giraffes.

* at the end of a word allows for unlimited characters.

Example: computer prog* returns computer program, computer programmers.

Boolean Operators

Possible Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT.

Proximity operators are also allowed; they are w (or with) and n (or near).

Other Tips

Command-line searching is also available in both the basic and advanced searches.

Example: ti: introduction to physics

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OVID Databases (Current Contents)

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is adjacency.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

Left-hand wildcards are not allowed.

? or : within a word represent 0 or 1 characters.

Example: colo?r returns color, colour.

# within a word substitutes for one character only.

$1 at the end of a word represents 0 or 1 characters

Example: dog$1 returns dog, dogs.

# at the end of a word substitutes for one character only.

Example: bab# returns babe, baby.

$ at the end of a word allows for unlimited characters.

Example: rat$ returns rats, rationalization.

Boolean Operators

Possible Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT. These can be grouped with parentheses.

ADJn between words retrieves two or more terms within n terms of each other, in any order.

Example: physician ADJ5 relationship will retrieve patient physician relationship, physician patient relationship, etc.

Other Tips

To search for a certain volume of the Proceedings of SPIE, search in both the conference field and the source field.

Example: spie.cf,so and 3531.cf,so.

To search for a proceedings' master record, use the same search argument in both the conference field and the title field. Note: This sometimes works.

Example: (automobile AND cooling).cf. AND (automobile AND cooling).ti.

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USPTO (Patents Database)

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is exact phrase.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

Right-hand wildcards only.

$ at the end of a word represents unlimited characters.

Boolean Operators

Possible Boolean operators are AND, OR, and ANDNOT. XOR is available in an advanced search.

Other Tips

In a Boolean search, you must specify the appropriate field to find a patent number or an inventor's name. Searching "all fields" will not find patent numbers or inventor's name.

Patents from 1790-1975 are searchable only by Patent Number and Current US Classification.

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Voyager (UIUC's ILLINET Online)

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is AND.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

Right-hand wildcards only.

? allows for unlimited characters, or none at all.

Boolean Operators

Possible Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT.

Other Tips

Use the plus sign (+) to indicate that a word must be present.

Example: +alien

Use an exclamation mark (!) to indicate that a word should not be present.

Example: illegal !immigration

To search an exact phrase, use quotation marks.

Example: "civil war"

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Web of Science (Science Citation Index)

Coverage

Default Search

Default search is adjacency.

Wildcards and Truncation Rules

Left-hand wildcards are not allowed.

$ can be used within a word as a wildcard for 0 or 1 characters.

? can be used within a word as a wildcard for 1 character only.

* can be used at the end of a word as a truncation symbol for an unlimited number of characters.

Boolean Operators

Possible Boolean operators are SAME, NOT, AND, and OR.

The default precedence is SAME, NOT, AND, and OR. This can be overridden using parentheses.

SAME works as follows: All terms separated by the operator must appear in the same subfield. A subfield is a sentence ending with a period, a phrase or text string ending with a semicolon, or a text string ending with a line break.

Other Tips

You can combine previous search sets (results of previous searches) using AND and OR.

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