Everything You Need to Know About Truncating Words

Truncation is a powerful tool that allows you to search for a term and its various spellings and word endings. Learn how to use it effectively with this comprehensive guide.

Everything You Need to Know About Truncating Words

Truncation, also known as wildcard search, is a powerful tool that allows you to search for a term and its various spellings and word endings. To truncate a search term, you simply remove the end of the word and add an asterisk (*) at the end. This technique expands your search to include all possible variations of the word. The truncation symbol will always follow the letters you typed with no spaces between them and the symbol.

If you're not sure how many letters you should type to capture your term and its variations without getting too many irrelevant results, experiment with truncating the term at different points. For example, typing 'toxin truncation*' will return 'toxins', 'toxinemia', 'toxinogens', 'toxinotypes', 'toxin-3α-glucoside', 'toxinogenesis', and more. It's important to note that lemmatization and stemming are not the same as truncation, although they do expand your network of results.Truncation is a great way to quickly search for different forms of a word simultaneously and increase the number of search results found. However, it's important to understand the limitations of these algorithms and be able to take matters into your own hands by truncating terms or using wildcards.

Different databases use different truncation symbols, so make sure to check the “Help” information or “Search Tips” in the database for details on which symbol to use.If you want to truncate characters in an entire column, you must ensure that all text strings are in one column. Truncation is very useful when you know that one of your search terms has multiple endings, but all the variations represent basically the same idea. This YouTube clip from the Gumberg Library gives a little more information about using quotes, truncation and wildcards.

Charlotte Wilson
Charlotte Wilson

Friendly travel advocate. Freelance zombie scholar. Extreme web practitioner. Evil coffee buff. Professional beer practitioner.

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