Library Logo


a library reporter for business and hospitality management

[grey line]

by Daniel Hanne, Business Librarian
909-869-4352; E-mail

Inform on World Wide Web:

No. 37


Issue Number 37 -- Winter Quarter, 2000

Boolean and Key Word searching, and more!!!

A review of Boolean searching:

The term "Boolean Operators" or "Boolean Searching" appear in the descriptions of electronic databases. What are these? Simply put, these are words you enter between the "key" words that describe your search wants. The Boolean Operators are three: and, or, and not. Computer software recognizes these to have special meaning. Two of these, or and not, are not very important. When you use or between key words you are asking for either one or the other; the key words are synonyms. When you use not you are asking for the first to be used only if the second is not present. These are not, or seldom, important because and is so powerful and if you use it with a wise selection of key words your search will be successful. The and operator is of vital importance because the typical computer database is so large that you will retrieve records on all but the most obscure terms. The problem is rather to find the key terms in their proper context. You do this by combining at least two, sometimes three, key words with and between them. The and search asks that the terms will come back only if they are in the same record (a record in business databases is an abstract (a summary) of an article or the full text of the article itself).

A further word on context: The typical business database is becoming more and more a full-text database; the entire text of the article is in the database and when you enter key terms the searching software will search the entire database for them. Since and requires only that both terms be present more general terms might not be in the context you want. You can solve this problem in most databases. One way is to select an option that requires that all terms you enter be found in the title or in the title or lead paragraph of the article. Another is to use is a "proximity operator" which asks that the terms be within n words of one another (in the Lexis/Nexis database as an example the proximity operator is w/n). If you enter: kellogg w/5 market share the company name "kellogg" would have to appear within 5 words of the phrase "market share". All business databases have good help screens that explain searching operators and strategies with examples.

Return to Highlights

And of Key Word searching:

The key words, or "keywords", are essential to art of computer searching. How do you choose the best ones to enter? I suggest the best way to do this is to imagine the ideal title that would give you the information you want. This can be a book or an article title or it could the "thesis sentence" of your project. Then choose at least two key words from this statement (I think most of the time these are nouns). Two are usually enough and you will seldom need more than three. Consider your first search to be an "hypothesis testing" of your keywords. If you get too much back you can narrow the context of the terms. Also look at articles you retrieve that are pertinent for additional terms to search with. Computer searching is a dialogue with the database until you retrieve the information you need. And, because of the wide selection of business databases the University Library subscribes to, if someone has published the information you want you can find it here.

Return to Highlights

And More:

A Media Directory for International Business and Trade:

The International Media Guide (Index Table #2) is in five volumes:

Business Professional Publications; the Americas (Ref HF5826.5 .I34)

Business Professional Publications; Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa (Ref HF5826.5 .I37)

Consumer Magazines; Worldwide (Ref HF6121 .A5 I37)

Business Professional Publications; Europe (Ref HF5826.5 .I48)

Newspapers Worldwide (Ref HF6121 .A5 I44)

The main purpose of the International Media Guide is to give advertising rates for media worldwide. All volumes except for Newspapers Worldwide are organized by subject, with the country or area listed under each subject. There are country and title indexes. The Newspapers Worldwide volume is organized geographically, also with country and title indexes. The entries include basic directory information such as addresses, phone number, editors, language(s), frequency, distribution, and circulation. The entries also give the publications' description and readership. And of course there are the advertising rates, sometimes in US and sometimes in local currencies.

Return to Highlights

Codes of Ethics for the Professions:

We have received a new edition of Codes of Professional Responsibility: Ethics Standards in Business, Health, and Law 4th ed. (Ref BJ1725 .C57 1999). Of direct interest to The College of Business Administration the Codes of Professional Responsibility includes the codes of ethics for Accounting (AICPA and IMA), Advertising and Marketing (Agencies, Direct Marketing, Direct Selling, ad Public Relations), Banking (ABA), Financial Planning (Investment Management, Financial Planning), Human Resource Management (Payroll, Public Administration, Executive Search, and Personnel Management), Insurance (Property Casualty Underwriters, Financial Service Professionals), Management (Academy of Management, Association Executives), and Real Estate (Buyer Agents, Realtors).

See also Cal Poly Internet Reference (University Library Home Page) for Internet sites on the Business Ethics and Ethics pages. These pages present sites from universities and associations worldwide, for example there is EBEN (European Business Ethics Network), the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science, the Institute for Business & Professional Ethics from DePaul University, and The International Business Ethics Institute, Inc., as well as the Better Business Bureau.

Return to Highlights

NEXT ISSUE: Brands and Logos, and more!!!

[grey line]

[back arrow]
INFORM Home Page

Library Home Page

Cal Poly Pomona