What are truncation and wildcards and how do I use them?

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2021     Views: 28

Truncation and wildcards are two techniques which can help you search databases more efficiently.

Truncation uses a symbol to help you look for all possible endings of a root word.

For example, you may want to search the word paint but also paints, painted, painter and painting.

If you place the truncation symbol after the root word the database will search all possible endings of and including the root word.

So sculpt* would search for sculpt, sculpts, sculpting, sculpture, sculpted, sculptures and sculptor

Each database might use a different truncation symbol but they are often *,?,! or #

Wildcards work similarly to truncation but can be used as a substitute for a single letter in a word.

This can also be helpful if there can be more than one way of spelling a word.

So colo?r would search for color and colour.

Databases can use slightly different symbols but you should be able to find this information on their home page usually under “help”.