BOOLEAN SEARCHES

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Boolean Operators

  1. In conducting a search, you may also use Boolean operators (AND, NOT, OR, XOR).
  2. The Boolean operators allow you to refine your queries to focus on more specific or more general information than may be found with a single word or phrase search.
  3. Boolean connectors require a word or phrase on either side of the operator. For example, negligent or intentional is a valid query, but or intentional is not.
  4. There are four Boolean operators: And, Or, Not, Exclusive Or. See Operator Precedence for a discussion of the precedence (order of execution) of these operators and how to override the precedence.

Boolean operator: And

  1. Use the And operator to search for multiple words in the same record (this is same as the multiple word search described in Simple Queries).
  2. The And operator may be specified any one of three ways: a single space between words, the ampersand &, or the word and.
Query  Explanation
Summary judgment 
Summary & judgment 
Summary and judgment 
Finds all records which contain both summary and judgment
Summary and judgment and  “motion granted”  Finds all records which contain both summary judgment the phrase “motion granted


Boolean Operator: Or

  1. Use the Or operator to search for multiple words in the infobase (the words may or may not be in the same record).
  2. The Or operator may be specified by the word or.
Query  Explanation
contract or agreement Finds all records which contain either contract or agreement (may contain both)
contract or agreement and insurance Finds all records which contain insurance and either contract or agreement (or both contract and agreement

Boolean Operator: Not

  1. Use the Not operator to search for records which do not contain a particular term or set of terms. Not is actually a unary operator (it can be used by itself), but it is often used in between two terms (find records which contain A but not B).
  2. Generally, the best way to think of the Not operator when used between two terms (A not B) is "find records with A and find records without B" (A and not B).
  3. The Not operator may be specified one of two ways: the caret ^ or the word not. (The caret ^ is usually above the number 6 on the keyboard)
Query  Explanation
overruled ^ demurrer 
overruled not demurrer
Finds all records which contain overruled but which do not contain demurrer
^ overruled  not overruled Finds all records which do not contain overruled. (In this type of query, nothing is highlighted. Next & Previous Hit take you to the next and previous records which do not contain the term

Boolean Operator: XOr (Exclusive Or)

  1. Use the XOr operator to search for records which contain one of two words but not both.
  2. The XOr operator may be specified one of two ways: the tilde ~ or the term xor.
Query  Explanation
contract ~ agreement Finds all records which contain either contract or agreement but which do not contain both contract and agreement

Operator Precedence

  1. The query operators have a precedence order. That is, when two more operators are used in a query, the results of one operator will be evaluated before another operator. Understanding the precedence and how to override the precedence can assist you in finding the information you need.
  2. The operator precedence is: Not, Or, XOr, And
  3. If the same operators are used in a query (for example, if Or appears twice in a query), the operators are evaluated from left-to-right.
  4. For example, consider the following query: dog or cat and mouse not cheese
  5. This query is evaluated in the following order:
    1. not cheese (records which do not contain cheese)
    2. dog or cat (records which contain either dog or cat)
    3. and mouse (and all records in the identified subset which contain mouse).
  6. These rules allow you to create powerful queries; however, they can also be confusing. To ensure the correct terms are combined with the correct operators, use parentheses around the terms and operators.
  7. For example, the following queries all produce different results:
    dog and (cat or mouse) not cheese
    dog and cat or (mouse not cheese)
    (dog and cat) or (mouse not cheese)
  8. The following query is the same as the first query in the above list, but is more explicit:
    (dog and (cat or mouse)) not cheese
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Updated January 2000
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