Tuesday, July 21, 2009

EBSCO Searching Tips

EBSCOhost Searching Tips


There have been some recent, subtle changes made to certain field code searching behaviors, which are summarized below.

Wild Card Symbols and Their Behaviors

Wildcard Definition: A way to find words with unknown characters or different spellings.

The Pound Sign (#) Wildcard Symbol (new):

There is a new wildcard symbol: #. When used, it matches any character, similar to the ? wildcard symbol. It will also return results if there is no character in that position. For example, colo#r returns color or colour.

The Asterisk (*) Wildcard Symbol

The asterisk (*) wildcard can be used between words to match any word. For example, a midsummer * dream will return results that contain the exact phrase, a midsummer night’s dream.

An asterisk (*) following a term operates as a wildcard. For example, night* will produce results for nighttime.

To be treated as separate words, asterisks must be separated by a space. For example, “A raisin * * sun” will return A raisin in the sun.

A single asterisk (*) used as the first or last term in a phrase is removed. For example, * car or car * are simply searched as car.

The Question Mark (?) Wildcard Symbol

If an asterisk * is preceded by more than one question mark wildcard symbols, they will be ignored. For example, ??* will be interpreted by EBSCOhost as *, and a??* would be interpreted as a*.

Standalone # or ? wildcards between terms are limited to representing one character.

Other Searching Functionality - Double Quotation Marks

Enclosing terms in double quotation marks prevents the application of the Thesaurus. For example, “car” returns car, but not cars or any other derivative of the terms in quotes.