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4) Find Journal Articles: Truncation & Wildcards

A University of Lethbridge Library guide to finding journal articles.

Truncation & Wildcards

What is truncation?

Truncation allows you to search a root word and any variant endings of that word, including plurals.

For example:

chief* - would find chief, chiefs, chiefdom, chiefdoms, etc.

migrat* - would find migrate, migratory, migration, etc.

Use truncation to avoid having to think of (and type out) all possible variations of a word.

NOTE: Be careful not to truncate too far to the left. A root like art* will retrieve many, many records!

What are wildcards?

Wildcards allow for variations of spelling within a word. They can be used to search for single letter variations of a word. This is especially useful for picking up both Canadian/UK and American spellings. For example:

colo?r - will find both color and colour

M?cArthur – will find both MacArthur and McArthur

Database Search Tips

Truncation and wildcard symbols

Most databases use an asterisk (*) for truncation and a question mark (?) as a "wildcard." However, some databases use other symbols.

If you're not sure which symbols to use in a particular database, check the database's HELP page.

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