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CEU Library, Central European University

Database Search Tips


Truncation, also called stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings.

  • Truncation symbols may vary by database; common symbols include: *, !, ?, or #

  • 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.

  • It is useful when searching for words with multiple endings. Examples: child* = child, children, childrens, childhood; genetic* = genetic, genetics, genetically

  • Some search engines use automatic truncation and does not recognize these symbols. For example,  Google searches for all possible word variations so if you enter  Diet it returns diets, dieting, dietary




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.

  • Examples: wom!n = woman, women; colo?r = color, colour

If you have questions about applying this technique to your search, Contact us.

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