Most library databases can be searched with a mix of keywords and Boolean operators.
Keywords are words or phrases that represent the main ideas of your research topic. You will need to use keywords when you search library databases because most library databases are not equipped to understand the sentences or partial sentences that way search engines like Google can.
To generate keywords, break down your research topic or question into its main ideas and key concepts. Then generate a list of synonyms and like ideas.
Example Research Question: "How was tourism impacted the physical and cultural sustainability of Venice?"
|sustainable tourism||carbon footprint||Italy|
In most library databases, keywords need to be separated by Boolean operators. The three main Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT.
Putting It Together
Examples of library database searches using both keywords and Boolean operators: