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Introductory Science Resource Guide for Cal Poly Pomona Students and Faculty

Advanced Search

Using the Advanced Search function in OneSearch will help you find more relevant results, faster!

On the homepage, you can select Advanced Search just under the OneSearch bar, on the left. This selection will take you to a new window where you can make a more specific search.


Or, after navigating to the OneSearch page, you can select Advanced Search, by clicking on text, next to the search box. This step will open a pop-up Advanced Search window that allows you to make a more specific search.


How to Use Advanced Search

Advanced Search allows you to customize your search further:

  • Search for – Search scopes allow you to search within a specific category of materials (such as electronic resources only or physical items only). You can also limit your search results by specifying filters such as material type, language, and publishing date or publishing date range.

  • Any Field – This allows you to narrow the search to all search fields or a particular field (examples of fields to search include: author, title and subject).

  • Search type – For each search line, your search terms are compared against the search field:

    • is (exact) – Returns results that contain phrases that exactly match the phrases specified in the query. For example, a search with Author/Creator (field) is Maya Angelou, would return results which include Maya Angelou as the author

    • contains – Returns results that contain all words in the phrase, but the words may be in a different order and may not be as close together. For example, a search with Title (field) contains activism and art, may return results which include titles such as: Paul Robeson a life o activism and art; Tactical biopolitics: art, activism, and technoscience and The cinema of Oliver Stone: art, authorship and activism.  

    • starts with – Returns results that contain words that start with the specified words. This type performs left-anchored title searches only.

  • Search box – words, phrases, and "operators" (ANDOR, and NOT) can be entered into the search boxes.

  • Operators – As with basic searches, use AND, OR, and NOT either when entering your search terms, or select these "operators" from the drop down menu. to combine term. 

  • If your query includes operators that separate phrases in which one or both of the phrases contain multiple words, Primo will use parentheses to group the words in each multiple-word phrase. For example, Primo will convert the query screen printing OR silkscreen to (screen printing) OR silkscreen to distinguish it from the following query: screen (printing OR advertising).

  • Add a New Line – Advanced searches allow you to include a maximum of seven search criteria lines, which contain the following parameters: operator, field selector, search type, and search box.

  • Filters – Filters allow you to narrow your results to specific metadata (such as a material type or date range). In the search results, you can include and exclude facets to filter your results further.

Boolean Operators – Search Support Words

Boolean Operators are useful features that help students like you search the University Library, as well as general information online. These operators, just additional words to include in your search, will help you make a better search by including more items that are relevant and fewer items that are irrelevant. The most commonly offered Boolean Operators are:

  • OR
  • AND
  • NOT

In the examples below, the solid coloring in the venn diagrams represents the items that are retrieved.

The OR operator

venn diagram with all sections coloredThe OR operator is similar to the union of sets.  It is used to broaden a search or to complete a concept by including synonyms or variant terms for the same concept.  In the example at right, set A, which is all items in the database that contain the word "apples" is put in an "or" relationship with set B, all items in the database which contain the word "Oranges".

The result is a set that includes all of the items in either A or B.

Examples using OR operators Reason
Citrus OR Oranges OR Lemons OR Tangerines OR Grapefruit
Ninja turtles OR Leonardo OR Michelangelo OR Donatello
Ensure full retrieval for all the members of a class of items - be sure to include the name of the class of items (such as "citrus" or "ninja turtles").
HPLC OR high performance liquid chromatography
MRSA OR Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Search both the acronym or initialism and the name fully spelled out.
Poison Oak OR Toxicodendron diversilobum Search both common and scientific names
coagulation OR clotting Search similar concept terms
tenosynovitis OR tenosinovitis Search variant (or erroneous) spellings
hemopoietic OR haemopoietic Search both American and British spellings
retina OR retinas OR retinal Search for variant endings of a word
asthma OR asma OR asthme Search for English Language and foreign equivalents
dehydration OR hydration
fertility OR sterility
food security OR food insecurity
resistance OR susceptibility
burned OR unburned
You can sometimes use antonyms to fully express a concept
anthracnose OR apiognomonia OR gnomonia Use the name of the disease as well as the names of the causal agents


The more OR operators you use, the more material you will get. With some search engines, the OR operator is used by choosing "any of the words"  or "with at least one of the words" when you search.

The AND Operator

venn diagram with only the middle part coloredThe AND operator is similar to the intersection of sets.  It is used to narrow a search or to make it more specific. In the example at right, set A, which is all items that contain the word "Apples" is put in an "and" relationship with set B, which is all items that contain the word "Oranges".

 The result is a set that includes only those items that contain both the word apples AND the word oranges.  Often in the sciences, the subject is of the pattern: The effect of A on B.  This translates into the Boolean search A AND B. 


  • altitude AND hypoxia
  • tannins AND beer
  • biodegredation AND beaches
  • rainfall AND deforestation AND Brazil

The more AND operators you use, the less material you will get. With some search engines, the AND operator is used by choosing "all of the words", "must contain", etc. when you search.

The NOT operator

venn diagram with only the left side coloredThe NOT operator is used to narrow a search but it is done by exclusion. In the example at right, set A, which is all items that contain the word "Apples" is put in an "not" relationship with set B, which is all items that contain the word "Oranges". 

The result is a set that includes items with the word "Apples", but eliminates those which contain the word "Oranges".  The NOT Operator should always be used with caution. The NOT operator is sometimes called "AND NOT". 


  • heart disease NOT human
  • diabetes millitus NOT hyperglycemia
  • rheumatoid arthritis NOT juvenile
  • wound healing NOT plants

This bears repeating: use the NOT operator with caution. You risk eliminating relevant material that happens to incidentally mention the word you are "notting" out.

Combining Boolean Operators

Boolean operators often can be used in combination. Examples:

  • (global positioning systems or gps) and automobiles
  • (laminitis or founder) and (equid or equids or equidae or horse or horses or mare or mares)
  • scientists and salaries not (education or academia or professors)
  • coastal sage scrub and (fire* OR postfire* OR burn* OR postburn* OR unburned OR pyrogenicity)

Remember to group the ORs with parenthesis when writing them out this way. Most of the University Library databases support searching with Boolean Operators. The challenge here is to discover how each database website allows you to use them. Use their "help" pages to discover how to do it. Boolean searching is often available in an advanced search mode (called "power search", "guided search", "search plus" or something similar).