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University of Utah Library Guides
All University of Utah libraries course and research guides, in one place.

Mountain West Digital Library: Searching MWDL

This is a guide for users of the Mountain West Digital Library. Here you can find links to other helpful websites as well as guidelines for conducting research.

Search MWDL

Enter a search term and enter to get started

Quick Search Tips

Avoid common or broad terms such as "Utah" or "History".

Choose Text, Images, Collections, Sounds, etc. in Advanced Search to limit to one of those material types.

Include terms appropriate for your time period, such as older spellings of words ("aeroplane") and "baby carriage* OR pram*".

Boolean Search Help

Using Boolean terms to refine your search
"Boolean" is just a fancy word for simple, logical terms that you use all the time in writing and speaking, like "AND", "OR" and "NOT". You use them the same way with your search words to make the results more flexible or specific. Using boolean terms in your search increases the accuracy of your searches, giving you with the best results. Using simple logical terms will help you get better results.

"AND" narrows your search. This is the default when you search for more than one word. A search for technical writer is the same as a search for technical AND writer. When you search for technical writer or technical AND writer you are saying find the word technical in the same document as the word writer. The search engine discards all results except those that have both terms. If just one word appears, it will not be displayed.

"OR" broadens your search. A search for manager OR supervisor requires that a document have either of these terms. This is useful where two different words have similar meanings and are used interchangeably. If just one word appears in a document, it will be displayed.

"NOT" also works exactly as you would expect it to. The word following NOT must not appear in a document for the search engine to return it. If you were to search for research NOT sales, you would receive results that mention research without the word sales in them.

( ) (parentheses)
Terms can be grouped together with parentheses. A search for project AND (manager OR supervisor) will return any document that contains the word "project" and either of the words "manager" or "supervisor". Searching for (project AND manager) OR supervisor will find results with project manager or the term supervisor alone.

Quotation Marks: " "
Enclose specific phrases in quotation marks. This will direct the search engine to search the database for documents containing that exact phrase. A search for analytical chemist (without quotes) will return any document containing analytical and chemist with anything in between. If you place quotes around the phrase, searching for "analytical chemist", Medzilla will only return documents with the terms right next to each other.

* (the asterisk wildcard)
As the name implies, * can be substituted for any number of letters. This is particularly useful to include all words with a certain term and any suffix after it. Simply apply the asterisk to the end of a term and it will return all documents containing that term, followed by anything. For example: biostatistic* will find biostatistician or biostatistics or biostatistical

? (the question mark wildcard)
Enter a question mark (?) to perform a single character wildcard search: entering "wom?n will retrieve records with "woman" and "women".


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