How to search

George Boole: George Boole (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) >professor of mathematics at Queen’s University, Cork, Ireland 1849-64

  • Boolean logic is credited with laying the foundations for the information age

  • Created an algorithm using words as I/O (number) values

  • Words cloak numeracy

No general method for the solution of questions in the theory of probabilities can be established which does not explicitly recognize, not only the special numerical bases of the science, but also those universal laws of thought which are the basis of all reasoning, and which, whatever they may be as to their essence, are at least mathematical as to their form. -Wikipedia

Boolean operators/joiners AND, OR, NOT

  1. Conjunction expressed as: x AND y - Google Search, x +y - Google Search

  • generates binary results (0s and 1s)

  • is used to decrease screen results

  1. Disjunction expressed as a bracketed statement (x OR y) - Google Search

  • is used to increase screen results

  1. Negation expressed as x NOT y - Google Search, x -y - Google Search

  • is used to exclude terms from screen results

  1. Multiplication expressed as *

  • is used to expand stem words >prefixes >suffixes

  1. Phrase

  1. NumRange 2017-2022 - Google Search

Word order

> Comment on: Big pond/small fish v small pond/big fish

> where 1+1=2 doesn’t work (1+1=0)

  1. robert - Google Search
  2. smith - Google Search
  3. robert smith - Google Search
  4. smith robert - Google Search

Math function order

>Comment on acronym: bedmas - Google Search

  1. Division ()
  2. Multiplication *
  3. Addition AND
  4. Subtraction NOT

Search string

No operators: robert smith carleton university library - Google Search

2m records

All operators: (robert OR smith) +carleton* +university -library - Google Search

<100 records

10 Tips

  1. Keywords comb through the text for words; like an index
  2. Subject words find content; like ToC
  3. Google has no index it crawls the web each time. We pay publishers…
  4. Meaning: Apple >tech or fruit >tablet
  5. Natural language not controlled vocabulary ?
  6. only first term(s) searched entirely >other keywords are ‘conditional’ or keyed on the first term(s) used
  7. Spelling: >fiber >fibre, color, labor
  8. Stop words: do not use punctuation, conjunctions, articles, prepositions >except in “phrase” searches >main title not subtitle
  9. UPPERCASE use for all search engines
  10. Use mostly adjectives > adjective forms are positive, comparative, and superlative >tall, taller, tallest. Often end in: -able, -ous, -er, -est
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