In Professional Search and, optionally, in Advanced Search, you choose the search operators to be applied in combining multiple words into phrases and to combine multiple searches. The operators available to you for these expert search options are listed and described in the next two sections.

Boolean Operators

The Cuadra STAR software used for searching the catalog supports use of the three Boolean operators depicted in this diagram:

AND:  For records to be retrieved, they must contain all of your search terms — the overlapping intersection of records that have both TERM A and TERM B.

OR:  For records to be retrieved, they can contain any of your search terms — records that include either TERM A or TERM B, or both TERM A and TERM B. Such formulations are typically constructed of terms that are synonyms, related terms, or variant forms/spellings.

NOT:  For records to be retrieved, they cannot contain the NOT term(s). In this example, the retrieved records must contain TERM A but cannot also contain TERM B. You should apply this operator with caution, since such formulations can sometimes exclude potentially relevant records (i.e., items in the AND intersection).

The definition of "records must contain" depends on the particular search that you are doing. For example, if you are searching across multiple fields (e.g., in the default Key Content search field), the terms must be present (or not present) in any of the fields being searched. However, if you are doing a words search in a specific field, e.g., Subjects, those words must be present (or not present) in that field.

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Proximity Operators

STAR also allows for the use of proximity operators, which provide for more precise searches than can be achieved with the Boolean AND operator. When proximity indexing rules have been applied to a STAR database, it keeps track not only the field from which search terms have been extracted but, as well, positional information of the data within those fields — according to the indexing rules a designer has specified.

These additional operators can then be applied in searching to specify the "proximity" relationship of your search terms within the ANDed subset of records for them to be included in your search results. The operators are listed in descending order — from the broadest to the most precise retrieval.

Operator Specifies that your search words must be. Notes
W/F within the same field

Use if retrieving across multiple fields, such as the default Key Content Data search or the All Titles search field that automatically searches across the Title, Series Title, Alternate Title, and Journal/Parent Title fields.


within the same paragraph

Use if searching a long-text field, such as abstracts that include multiple paragraphs.


within the same sentence (or subfield)

Use if searching a long-text field or a subfielded field such as the author field, with the author name subfield and the author affiliation subfield — where a subfield is a uniquely tagged unit of data within an occurrence of field that can contain multiple occurrences.

W/O ('oh') within the same occurrence

Use if searching a repeating field, such as the author and subject fields.

For example, a search of carlos w/o cuadra would not retrieve a record with these two author occurrences:

Cuadra, Dean

Bailstrom, Carlos

within 'n' words
equivalent of W/5

Use in any word search to specify the number of intervening words to be allowed when terms are combined into a search phrase.

For example, computer* near technology will retrieve the first, but not the second title below:

Assessment of the impact on technology of the next generation of computers

Recent developments in the computer industry produce significant gains in the high-technology industries

To broaden a search to include retrieval of titles in which your key words may be separated by more than 5 intervening words, use an option such as W/10.

The proximity of one word to another is based on "intervening" words, e.g., in the first title above: of, the, next, generation, of, represent 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 intervening words between the two search terms of technology and computers.

W/0 ('zero') adjacent to, in either order

Use to combine words into a phrase that may be expressed with different word orders.

For example, quality w/0 air will retrieve records with either of these phrases: air quality or quality air.


adjacent to, in the specified order

Use to retrieve records containing your words in the exact same order as your search terms.

For example, a search of air adj quality will not retrieve records with the phrase quality air.

If a search field has not been defined to allow for retrieval by the particular proximity operator that you select, STAR will automatically apply the operator from the next level up in the hierarchy, up to and including the AND operator. No errors will be generated.

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