Boolean operators are not used in typical fashion in SciFinder.® Instead SciFinder® prefers that you use prepositions to express the relationship between two concepts. As an example, suppose you want to search for references relating to the effect of human growth hormone on fetal development. In most databases, you would enter a search such as, "human growth hormone AND fetal development." Given the way it processes search queries (i.e., natural language processing), SciFinder® actually prefers you enter such a query as "effects of human growth hormone on fetal development."
SciFinder® processing does interpret AND and OR included as part of a natural language query as we might expect but if it is not sure, it will execute and show you the results for both kinds of queries.
One SciFinder® trick to note: in other database resources, we typically use OR to group synonymous terms. This is not the case in SciFinder®. Instead, it is recommended that you identify any synonyms (up to three including acronyms) in round brackets following the word in the query. As an example, SciFinder® prefers this search:
Antibiotics used in the treatment of cats (felines)
to this search:
Antibiotics used in the treatment of (cats OR felines)
the second search using the Boolean "OR."
The difference is how SciFinder® parses the search string. In the first example, it will identify three concepts to be combined in different ways into a search: "antibiotics used" (i.e., concept #1) to be combined with "treatment" (i.e., concept #2) to be combined with "cats" or with "felines" (either being a candidate for concept #3).
In the second search, SciFinder® identifies only two concepts to work with: "antibiotics used" (i.e., concept #1) to be combined with either "treatment" or with "cats" or with "felines" (all being a candidate for concept #2). In other words, the idea of treatment as being an independent concept is missed.
SciFinder® does accept the use of the Boolean NOT and interprets it as would be expected. As well, you may also express negation through the use of the word EXCEPT.