« Advanced Search Techniques: How to use Boolean operators to find better scholarly articles | Main | Advanced Search Techniques: Proximity Searching »

Advanced Search Techniques: Wildcards & Masking

Masking and Wildcard Symbols

Wildcard symbols are used for masking a string of characters in your search term. Masking is useful when a word has different spellings, is hyphenated, if you are uncertain about the spelling, and for capturing plurals or specific endings.

humo#r = humor, humour

Use # for alternative spellings within a word

birth! = birth, births BUT NOT birthdays, birthing

Use ! for one character

facilit!!! = facility, facilities BUT NOT facilitation

Use one ! per character

These symbols can be used in MN-CAT Plus as well as many of the article databases at the U. Some databases assign a different symbol so be sure to check each database as you search.

Click here to go to MN-CAT Plus and try out these search techniques.