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Boolean Operators Updated!!


So this is an update to my all inclusive list of operators. The update is as of 10/12/10, of course I will have other updates as I find new operators. Why you ask, well as I said below there are always new ones being discovered.


So, as most of you know there are allot of different operators. Trying to figure out what they all mean and do is tough. So in this post I am going to show and explain what allot of them do, not all but allot, the reality is there are just too many and to many alternative ways to use them.


The first thing to remember is, despite what you may have been told, all operators will work in all engines, they just might not work as well or the same.


So the operators:


No operator = finds the search criteria immediately adjacent to one another and in the same order. example C++ C# Java will only pull results were those 3 terms are in order.(this is a generalization, some engines are different, mostly used with resume databases like Monster etc.).

Within "X" = means to find a word within a certain radius of another word. Example C++ within 3 developed will bring results were the word C++ is found within 3 words of developed.

AND or & = this operator is used to denote a list of things that need to be present in a search. Example C# AND C++ AND Java, will return results that have all 3.

OR = to denote looking for more than one thing but not all things in a list. Example C# OR C++ OR Java will return result that have any of them but not necessarily all of them.

NOT = this excludes the word that follows from the search results. Example C# AND C++ NOT Java will return results that have C# and C++ but not any that also has Java. Allot of time this function will also be done by using "BUT NOT".

AND NOT = Excludes documents containing whatever follows it.

The AND NOToperator is generally used after you have performed a

search, looked at the results, and determined that you do not want to see

pages containing some word or phrase.

NEAR = find words that are within 10 words of each other. example C++ NEAR developed, will find results were the term C++ is within 10 words of developed.

Before = finds results that have words that come before another. example C++ before developed with bring back results were C++ comes before developed.(adjacency not implied).

After = finds results that have words that come after another. Example C++ after developed will bring results were C++ comes after developed. (adjacency not implied).

EXACT = The EXACT operator can be used to retrieve records that match your search term precisely. Simply type the word or phrase enclosed within double quotation marks and preceded by the EXACT operator.

* = means all formats of the root word. Example recruit* will bring up recruit, recruits recruiter, recruiters, recruiting etc.. It can also be used in word to find multiple spellings. Example behavi*r retrieves behaviour or behavior.

? = single-character wildcard for finding alternative spelling. The ? represents a single character; two ?? represents two characters and so on. Example wom?n finds woman and women.

I = a line, the pipe or vertical bar or the uppercase with a space before and after it can also be used as an OR operator. Example C | C++ means c or c++

Quotation Marks = This helps to find specific phrases by allowing you to tell the engine to search for the words as a phrase or together. Example C++ AND "Software Engineer" will pull results that include C++ and the phrase Software engineer. Without the quotation you are likely to get results that have the words software and engineer but not together.

Parentheses = This means to process the enclosed sub query first or as a whole. Example C++ AND (206 OR 253 OR 360).

=, @, "in", :(colon) = all these denote to look in a given area for a given word or phrase. Example @url=resume finds all urls with the word resume in them, so does url=resume and inurl:resume. As you can see in most cases you are combining two of these operators. Think of the @ or "in" as saying were to look, and the = and colon saying what to look for. So inurl:resume means in urls look for the word resume. You can change and combine these and get different results which make for some interesting strings. Also remember you can leave off the "in" and @ and still get results. So the strings are many and the results near infinite. Remember you can use any words after the = or colon and get some interesting results. Example url:alumni brings up urls with the word alumni in it, meaning educational institutions alumni pages in google that is 7,210,000. "in" can also be used for conversions such as 45 celsius in Fahrenheit.

Filename, filetype, url, define, group, ext, body, title, txt, subject, anchor(see seo and anchor text linking) = These words when used will denote were to look or what to look for, with regards to the given search criteria. Example @filename=resume will look for filenames with the word resume in them.

Cache = will look for the cached version of a page rather than the most updated version.

#...# = search within a number range. example nokia $200...$300

Author = will only include results written by a particular author.

Define = results will be of those pages that have a definition for the word that follows.

Group = results will be form groups only.

Info or id = the query info:url will present some information about the corresponding web page.

Link = The query link:url shows pages that point to that url.(also used in flip searching).

Location or region = this will yield result only for that location. Example location: England or UK will yield results only form England.

Movie = this will yield results about that movie. Example movie:ironman2 will yield results about Iron Man 2.

Stocks = get a Quote on a stock. Example stocsk:msft

Weather = get weather. Exmaple weather:98042 gets weather for Kent, Wa. 98042 is the zip code for Kent, Wa.

Phonebook = this will find all public phone results. Example phonebook:John Doe, NY, New York. Also bphonebook = business phone numbers and rphonebook = residential phone numbers

Site or Domain = this will limit results to those form that site or domain.

Source = this will limit your result to those from a particular source. Example source:nytimes.

Related = this will find results that are similar or related to the search criteria. Example related:football will find all results similar or related to football.

Host or domain = used for x-raying. example host:nfl.com or domain:nfl.com.

Tilda(~) = this if immediately before a key term will search for synonyms.

Plus(+) and Minus(-) = these can be used to add or subtract from results. Plus is used mainly to add common words to results. Example to+be+or+not+to+be. Of course this can be done other ways as well, such as "to be AND not AND to AND be". A + before a word tells the engine to look for exactly what you asked for no variations of any kind. It is like what would happen if you put a single word in quotations. Minus to remove something from the results. example football-dolphins, can also be done football NOT Dolphins or Football BUT NOT Dolphins. So in other words plus(+) and minus(-) are the same as AND and NOT.

safesearch: = excludes adult content. Example safesearch:breast cancer

Daterange = this allows you to limit result to a given date range. The only drawback to this syntax is that it works with the Julian Calendar, not the Gregorian Calendar (the one we use). To use daterange: first go to the Julian Date Converter at the U.S. Naval Observatory (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/JulianDate.html). Example intitle:"george bush" daterange:2452389-2452389(this would search for April 24, 2002).

AllinXXXX: = This combined with any of the operators above will provide you with all urls fitting the criteria. Example "Allinanchor: C++ Developed software" will find all pages with anchors that contain all 3 words.

Doc, PDF, txt, rtf, etc.. = These all specify types of documents. Example url:doc will pull up all urls with a word doc in the case of google that is 22,200,000.

country codes

(see blog http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/international-1)

You can use a country code to get results only form that country. Example url:uk will get you result from England, In google that is 199,000,000.

EDU, GOV, MIL etc = Well it url:EDU pulls up educational institutions pages, url:GOV pulls government, url:Mil pulls up military. Of course there are plenty of other domain names that are specific and worth checking such as org for organizations, net for networks, and com for commercial etc.

Acrobat, applet, activex, audio, flash, form, frame, homepage, image, javascript, index, meta, script, shockwave, wpf, table, video, mov, etc.. = used with any of the operators will yield results that target that file type or format. Example inrul:acrobat AND C++ will bring back results done in adobe acrobat and have C++.

Insubject: = looks for the word that follows the: in the subject of the page, or document. Example- insubject:football with find pages that have the word football in the subject.


The key with these operators is not just the operators themselves but the words that proceed or come after. Be sure you use all possibilities. This is where a thesaurus and dictionary come in handy. not just for the search terms themselves but for the operators too. example the term author is used above, but guess what according to the thesaurus another word for author is writer. If you use @writer= "edgar allen poe" you will get results. So as I have said in my resume writing blog posting, my SEO/Social Media blog posting and my TSO blog posting a thesaurus is your secret weapon to inventing new and different strings. Also remember you can combine operators to come up with even more and different results.


Of course there are allot more and more being discovered all the time. But here are allot of them, enjoy.

Views: 73

Tags: ASA, HR, Prospecting, boolean, recruiter, recruiting, sourcing, staffing, talent

Comment by Guy Swain on January 17, 2013 at 1:25pm

Dean. Great information! Thanks for sharing.

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