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Research Guides

SuperSearch: Using SuperSearch

Phrase Searching

SuperSearch allows for phrase searching with the use of quotation marks around your phrase of interest. The query “teacher education” will find results with that phrase.

Searching Specific Fields

The single search box in SuperSearch (keyword search box) will search across many fields automatically. For example, if you choose Title, you'll only get results that have your search terms in the title of the item.

You can use drop-down boxes next to a search box to specify a field you wish to search.

Searchable fields:

  • All Text (Advanced Search only)
  • Keyword (Basic Search only)
  • Author
  • Title
  • Subject Terms (Advanced Search only)
  • Journal Title/Source (Advanced Search only)
  • Abstract (Advanced Search only)
  • ISSN (Advanced Search only)
  • ISBN (Advanced Search only)

Search Filters/Limiters

Narrow your search results using the options on the left-hand side of the results page. Some useful limiters are:


Boolean Operators

SuperSearch offers the following Boolean operators: OR, NOT and AND. The operators must be written in ALL CAPS.

By default, all terms in a search are combined with the AND operator. To expand the results set, use the OR operator “microcircuits OR nanocircuits” will return items that contain either term.

Boolean operators can be used in combination with phrases in quotation marks, such as “teacher education” OR “educator training”.

To exclude items in SuperSearch, use the NOT operator or “-” character before a term. When used in the following query “animal NOT dog” the results will not include the term “dog”.


You can use wildcard and truncation symbols to create searches with unknown characters, multiple spellings or various endings.

  • The asterisk (*) matches multiple characters.
  • The hash sign (#) matches one optional character.
  • The question mark (?) matches exactly one character.


The question mark (?) will match any one character and can be used to find “Olsen” or “Olson” by searching for “Ols?n.”  Question marks at the end of words or character strings are not treated as wildcards. They are automatically removed from a query. To use a question mark as a wildcard at the end of a word, you need to put a # before the ? character. The hash before the trailing question mark indicates that the question mark should be treated as a wildcard to find exactly one character at the end a word. For example, a search for Monday#? will match Mondays but not Monday.


The asterisk (*) will match zero or more characters within a word or at the end of a word. A search for “Ch*ter” would match “Charter,” “Character,” and “Chapter.” When used at the end of a word (e.g., “Temp*”), it will match all suffixes “Temptation,” “Temple,” and “Temporary.” The asterisk (*) can be used between words to match any single word. For example, a search for midsummer * dream will match the phrases midsummer night’s dream and midsummer day’s dream.

To use the hash (#) wildcard, enter your search terms and place # where an alternate spelling might contain an extra character. For example, type colo#r to find all records containing color or colour. Type p#ediatric to find all records with pediatric or paediatric.

  • Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search.
  • When using any wildcard in a search term, the plural or possessive forms and any synonyms for the word will not automatically be searched. For example; when searching for colo#r, the plural words "colors" and "colours" are not searched.
  • Wildcards do not work with Chinese (中文), Japanese (日本人), and Korean (한국어) languages.