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Boolean Searching Tips: Truncation

Searching tips and techniques for higher-level students. Advanced searching techniques to ensure retrieving all possible information.


If you are not sure how the word is spelled.

And the word you are searching for is written differently but have one meaning.

For example:

color - colour

wildcard = colo?r

What is truncation

Root words that have multiple endings.  Example: sun = suns, sunshine, sunny, sunlight.

Words that are spelled differently, but mean the same thing.  Example:  color, colour.

To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end such as : child* you will be getting results for child, childs, children, childhood...etc.

Truncation Technique

Truncation is a search strategy that uses a symbol to find records that include any term starting with the word stem. Doing this will widen your search and could find other relevant information.

You can use the following symbols (*, #, ?).

Truncation searching strategy is similar to keyword searching using OR.

For example if you type the letters Blo* will retrieve information about:




Blow and so on.

You can also use the symbol as a wildcard, by replacing one letter of the word where there are different spellings. This can be useful, for example when you have variations in American and UK spellings.

For example: organi*ation

will find: organization, organisation