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Mathematics Research Guide

A research guide to introduce you to math and statistics resources, including library databases, tools, and other materials.

Subject-Specific Databases

Interdisciplinary Databases

Boolean Logic and Other Tools for Better Searching



Boolean operators:

  • OR: use OR to get a wide pool of results, where the results could have either keyword a or keyword b. Example:
    • axiom OR postulate. I will accept either keyword in my results.
  • AND: use AND to get a smaller, more targeted pool of results, where the results must have both keyword a and keyword b.
    • geometry AND group theory. Pretty simple! AND is the default operator that most search engines and databases use if you don't specify an operator (if I just typed in geometry group theory, the search would be the same).
  • NOT: use NOT to remove results with a specific undesired keyword from your pool, where you want keyword a but not keyword b. Example:
    • algebra NOT linear. This search will bring you all of the results that have "algebra" in them, except for the ones that also have "linear" in them.

Other search operators:

  • Wildcard: the asterisk * when included at the end of a string of letters, will bring you back every possible ending of the word:
    • geometr*: brings you back geometry, geometries, geometrical, geometric, etc. Important: this tool is deceptively simple, and only works with the string of letters you gave it. It won't find you synonyms.
  • Quote search: put quotes around a phrase or the title of a book/article/conference paper/etc to only get results with the specific words in the order you typed them. Make sure to check your spelling when you use quote search!
    • "ring theory": this is a good phrase to use quotes with because both ring and theory are very common words; without the quotes the system may bring you back results that include those two words but not in that order (i.e. irrelevant).
  • Brackets, or nesting: used as part of the search phrase. This tool really capitalizes on the math-y-ness inherent in database searching, and can help you to write a fairly complex search.
    • (differential OR integral) AND calculus. In this search, we'll accept either differential calculus, OR integral calculus.
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