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Create a Keyword List

The right keywords help to effectively search catalogs, databases, and the Internet.

-- Start by compiling a list of keywords that represent each concept of your topic.

-- Try using the Mind Map in Credo to find other topics related to your research.

-- Use more specific terms when searching databases versus catalogs.

-- Look for more terms in your search results. Add these to your list.

-- Use keyword variations.

Words change over time. Today we say Civil War but, in the past, it has been called the

· American Civil War

· War between the States

· War of Secession

· War of the Rebellion

If you searched only the term Civil War, you might miss valuable documents written during a different era.

Use the Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies thesaurus to find variations of keywords and subject headings.

Keyword Searching


                        Using AND/OR/NOT (Boolean Search Operators)


Use AND to focus search and combine different aspects of your topic.

Example: vegetarianism and environment

Use OR to expand your search and find synonyms/related terms.

Example: global warming or climate change


Use NOT to exclude a word or phrase from your search

Example: emissions trading not United States


Additional Search Tips

"Phrase search"  - Use quotation marks (" ") to search for a particular phrase.

Example: "greenhouse gas emissions"

Truncation * - Use an asterisk to find variations of a word. Put an asterisk following the root of the word to find all variations of that word, including singular and plural.

Example: environment* (finds environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.)

(Grouping/Nesting Keywords) - Use parentheses ( ) as a way to group all your search terms together.

Example: (climate change or global warming) and population growth

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