Most library catalogues and databases allow truncation and wildcards.


Truncation is a search strategy that uses a symbol (often the asterix *) to find records that include any term starting with the word stem. Watch the video below (view transcript).

Use truncation to broaden your search by picking up plurals and word derivations. Be careful where you place the truncation symbol.

For example: A search for eco* would pick up economic and economical but also ecology.


Activity indicatorWhere should you place the truncation symbol (*) to pick up variations on biology without retrieving irrelevant results?



A wildcard is a search strategy that uses a symbol to replace one unknown character (often a question mark ?) in a word search. Use wildcards to pick up words that have different American and English spellings. Watch the video below (view transcript).

Note: Check the Help screens of the search tool to determine what symbols are used for truncation and wildcards.


Activity indicatorWhat is the wildcard symbol used when searching the EBSCO database?

Hint: Once logged into EBSCO, look for the help link.