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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Database Quick Guides

Basic information on writing search queries in library databases. Intended audience: advanced searchers, or searchers interested in learning more about advanced searching options.


The purpose of this guide is to provide fast answers to frequently asked questions about composing queries for database searches. Questions like:

  • What symbol does this database use for truncating search terms?
  • How do I search for an exact phrase in this database?
  • What Boolean operators are allowed?

Designed for quick consultation, each section is laid out as a simple table, written in a terse prose style, and formatted for easy printing (click "Print This Page" on the right of the screen). 

The guide is organized by interface. Sometimes, a database has its own interface (e.g. JSTOR), but more commonly a single interface provides access to multiple database titles.