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GB320: Art Light - Spring 2022 - Sections 07, 08, 09 (Gustafson, Young, Constantino, Morin)

Keyword and Smarter Searching Strategies

Searching Smart: Keywords

When you search in the databases listed on this guide or on the Internet, don't limit yourself to one search!

Think about the information you are searching for and brainstorm a list of the various keywords that describe your topic. Ask yourself, "Which words or combination of words will retrieve the specific information you need?" As you retrieve information, take note of any new/different keywords or subject terms. Then, expand or refine your search as needed.

Some keywords or phrases include:

  • United States | USA | U. S.
  • "stained glass"
  • lighting
  • lamp(s)
  • Chandelier
  • Ceiling
  • pendant
  • custom lighting
  • home furnishings
  • "home decor"
  • sculpture
  • handcrafted
  • "decorative art"
  • "interior design" (er)
  • "Tiffany Lamps"
  • museum
  • "art gallery"
  • "museum quality"
  • "commissioned art" or "commissioned work"

Potential NAICS/Industry Codes:

Need even more keywords? How about refresh your memory of GB214: (Marketing or Operations keyword lists).

(Wondering what these asterisks and quotation marks mean? Read the "How to Phrase Your Searches" box below.)

How to Phrase Your Searches

The library's databases may have different interfaces, but they do share basic search principles. Some of these principles are listed below. It is important to look for the "Advanced Search" option of the database as it offers you greater control over the construction of your search.

Boolean Searching

Boolean Searching is the cornerstone to an effective search strategy.  Boolean searching refers to searching using a combination of words and the three Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT.

AND will make your search smaller.  If you are retrieving too many records on your topic, try adding another search term with the operator AND.
For example: "Art Deco" AND lighting

OR will make your search bigger. If you are retrieving too few records on your topic, try adding another search term with the operator OR.     
For example: lighting OR lamp

NOT will exclude a word from your search results.  If you are retrieving too many records on an unrelated topic, try eliminating a word with the operator NOT.  
For example: homeowners  NOT renters

Phrase Searching

To search for two or more words in the exact order in which they are entered, enclose the phrase in quotation marks "".
For example: "interior designer"


Truncation allows you to search the "root" form of a word with all its different endings by adding a symbol to the end of a word.  Truncation symbols vary by database (check the help screens or ask a librarian), but are usually one of the below: 
                           * (asterisk)                         ! (exclamation point)                  ? (question mark)

For example: advertis* will search for advertising, advertise, advertisement, etc.