Library:Library Research Skills For Biologists/Module 3/3B Catalogue/Page 05

From UBC Wiki

Truncation is another technique you can use to expand your search results. If you were looking for books about shrubs, you might use the Boolean operator OR and type in shrub OR shrubs OR shrubbery to capture all of the variations of the word. Another way to do this is to type the stem of the word followed by a truncation symbol, i.e. shrub*.

Here are some other examples of truncation:

ecolog* (finds ecology, ecological)
garden* (finds garden, gardens, gardening)
ocean* (finds ocean, oceans, oceanography, oceanic)

Unfortunately, truncation symbols vary depending on the search system you are using. In Summon, the truncation symbol is * and in the UBC Library catalogue, the truncation symbol is the question mark (?). Check out the Help feature of a system to find the truncation symbol.

Image Credits: [1]

A Word of Caution! Don't truncate too early . . .

If you're looking for books about cats, and you type "cat*", not only will you find cat or cats, you will also find catapults, cations, categories, and worst of all, catastrophe!

Thinking of our search for research on barnacles, let's learn more about its habitat using truncation to expand our search.

Summon Truncation Search.png

Image Credits:

  1. Jennifer C. 2009. 225 [online]. Available from [accessed 22 May 2012].