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Truncation / Wildcards

Searching for multiple forms of a word

Some databases allow certain symbols to be used for searching different forms of a word (such as plurals) or different spellings. Check the help screens of a particular database to determine the appropriate symbols to use.

Plurals — a symbol added to the end of a word to instruct the database to search for plural as well as singular forms of words. The symbol used in many databases is a plus (+).

Example: drug+ retrieves drug or drugs

Truncation — a symbol added to the end of the root of a word to instruct the database to search for all forms of a word. The asterisk (*) is used in many databases for truncation.

Example: adolescen* retrieves adolescent, adolescents, or adolescence

Wildcards — a symbol used to represent any character. Wildcards can usually be used at the end of a word or within a word. The pound symbol (#) is used in many databases as a wildcard. You can use this symbol to search variant spellings of a word. You can use more than one pound sign to stand in for more than one character. Each pound sign represents 0-1 characters.

Example: wom#n retrieves woman or women
                    teen##### would retrieve teens and teenager and teenagers

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