What is a Boolean Search?

A Boolean Search is a type of search that is conducted using certain words that are classified as Boolean Operators. The words most commonly used as Boolean Operators are ‘and,’ ‘or’ and ‘not.’

These three keywords are used to define the relationship between two terms and are used commonly in search engines in order to manipulate the results of the search.

Using ‘and’ in a Boolean Search will result in search results where both words in the search term are used, for example ‘Sydney and hotels.’ Using ‘not’ will isolate one category of search results and is often used when there is a lot of crossover between two terms, or when one category of search results is likely to show up that the user would like to be excluded from it, for example ‘Sydney not hotels.’

The use of ‘or’ will result in the broadest category of search results, for example ‘Sydney or hotels’, as this Boolean Operator delivers any search results where either term are used.

The term Boolean Search was named after George Boole, who invented the concept in a mathematical context.