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Louisiana Information Sources: A Guide

Research tools for finding historical and current newspapers, journals, media, and information about Louisiana


While the other sections of this guide feature resource lists and research tools, below you'll find some tips on conducting an effective search in Tulane's Library Search and other academic databases. 

Determining Search Terms

Need help identifying key words to use for your search? Check out the videos below

Use the search strategies below to help organize your key terms.

Library Search Bar

Use the following search strategies when searching for resources through the University Libraries' website:

Search Strategies

Boolean operators are used to expand or limit search results. 

Boolean AND

Use AND between related terms to only retrieve resources about both terms, not resources about either term by itself. This will limit your search results.

Boolean OR

Use OR between synonyms and other related terms to retrieve resources that are about either term or both terms. This will expand your search results.

Boolean NOT

Use NOT between related words when you want to disregard one of those terms. This will limit your search results. 


When using multiple Boolean Operators, group related terms using parentheses as shown in the screenshot below. This structure helps the system understand the relationship between each term.

When searching using multi-part terms like "New Orleans" or "Baton Rouge," use quotation marks as shown to ensure that the system searches for resources described by the words together, in they order they appear. For example, if you were to search New Orleans without quotation marks, you would surface resources described using the terms "New" and "Orleans" in separate parts of the record, as as New Orleans together. Using quotations to phrase your multi-part terms ensures you will only get results that mention "New Orleans," and thus helps limit your search. Phrasing is a key strategy to use in any academic database, as well as Google.

When using quotation marks, you receive fewer results. 

When searching for related words based on their root word, use an asterisk (*) to let the system know that the letters near the asterisk may vary. One way to use the asterisk is to truncate a word and thus search all words that start with the letters before the asterisk. For example, the search below will return records that include the terms feminism, feminist, feminization, femininity--any word beginning with femini--and either Louisiana OR "New Orleans." Using the truncation asterisk expands your search.

The asterisk (*) can also be used to identify words with varying spellings. For example, when searching for both the American English spelling of "color" and the British English spelling of "colour," use an asterisk as shown to search for both variations.


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