The Power of Truncation: What is it Used For?

Truncation is a powerful search technique used in databases to replace the ending of a word with a symbol. Learn more about how to use truncation for research and how it can help you find more relevant results faster.

The Power of Truncation: What is it Used For?

Truncation is a powerful search technique used in databases to replace the ending of a word with a symbol. This allows different forms of a word to be searched simultaneously and will increase the number of search results found. It is also known as wildcard search and is very useful when you know that one of your search terms has multiple endings. The asterisk (*) is the most commonly used symbol for truncation, but different databases may use different symbols.

Truncation is an effective way to quickly complete your search, as you won't have to manually type and search every variation of the word. If you want to narrow or broaden your search, you may want to find out whether truncation and proximity operators are available in the database you are using. To truncate a search term, do a keyword search in a database, but remove the end of the word and add an asterisk (*) to the end of the word. For example, building* with a truncation symbol will search for construction, building, buildings, constructor, etc.Different databases use different truncation symbols, so it is important to refer to the database “Help” or “Search Tips” information for details on which symbol to use.

This YouTube clip from Gumberg's library provides a little more information about the use of quotation marks, truncations and wildcards.Truncation is an incredibly useful tool for searching databases and can help you find more relevant results faster. It allows you to simultaneously search for different forms of a word and will increase the number of search results found. Knowing how to use truncation can be a great asset when conducting research.

Charlotte Wilson
Charlotte Wilson

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

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