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What to look for
- Root words that have multiple endings. Example: sun = suns, sunshine, sunny, sunlight
- Words that are spelled differently, but mean the same thing. Example: color, colour
- Truncation/wildcard symbols vary by database. Check the help screens to find out which symbols are used.
About truncation and wildcards
Truncation, also called stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings.
- To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end.
- The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.
child* = child, children, childhood
genetic* = genetic, genetics, genetically
- Truncation symbols may vary by database; common symbols include: *, !, ?, or #
Similar to truncation, wildcards substitute a symbol for one letter of a word.
- This is useful if a word is spelled in different ways, but still has the same meaning.
wom!n = woman, women
colo?r = color, colour
If you have questions about applying this technique to your search, Ask a Librarian