Search Techniques


Primo uses many of the standard search techniques used on the Internet and by academic databases. Here are some of the key techniques you should be aware of:

Phrase Searching – Use quotation marks to search terms as a phrase. Quotation marks tell the database that you’re looking for the exact words you entered, in the exact order you entered them in. For example, “smart phones” will only retrieve results with this exact phrase, eliminating many irrelevant hits. Phrase searching can be especially helpful when looking for a proper title or name (e.g., "The Old Man and the Sea"). 

Truncation – Primo uses the asterisk (i.e., *) as the truncation. It retrieves all results that begin with the same root. For example, educat* will retrieve educate, educated, education, educational, etc. For more information on truncations, check out this brief tutorial.

Boolean Operators (i.e., And, OR, Not) -- Primo assumes that you are searching for all the words you type unless OR or NOT are specified between the words and phrases. Be sure to use ALL CAPS when typing Boolean operators in Primo. Check out the library's tutorial on using boolean operators for more information.

AND – retrieves results that have all the specified terms. So a search for apples AND oranges will only retrieve results that have apples and oranges in the results. It is a useful way to narrow your search.  

OR – retrieves results with at least one of the search terms. So a search for Cape Verde OR Cabo Verde will retrieve results that include either the terms Cape Verde or the terms Cabo Verde or both .  It is a useful way to search for related terms or synonyms.

NOT – excludes any search results includes the specified term. It is most useful to use NOT when trying to eliminate irrelevant results.  For example, if you’re pulling up a lot of book reviews when looking for articles about the Game of Thrones, you might search for Game of Thrones NOT book review.