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How do I use wildcards and truncation when searching?

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Wildcards stand in for missing characters. They are useful if you want to search for variant spellings.

  • Use ? when you want to specify the number of missing characters; use as many ?s as there are missing characters, for example: colo?r will find colour and color but not collector.
  • Use * to represent an unspecified number of missing characters, for example: colo*r will find colour, color, collector etc.
  • You can use truncation at the beginning and end of words, for example: librar* will find library, librarian etc. librar? will only find library. *arm will find farm, harm, charm etc.

Your Academic Support Librarian would be able to help you with any aspect of your search strategy.  Please email or telephone us to ask for assistance.


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