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JOUR456/673 - Literature in Journalism

Guide to resources to support Journalism 456/673 - Literature in Journalism.

Literature Online

Literature Online is a full text collection of over 350,000 works of poetry, drama, and prose written in the English language from the 8th century to the present with complementary criticism and reference resources. Included within Literature Online is the Annual Bibliography of English Language & Literature (ABELL).  ABELL  indexes articles, essays, books, dissertations, and book reviews on language and literature topics. It also includes the full text of articles from over 100 journals. ABELL indexes sources back to 1920, and provides the full-text of recent journal articles. 

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Operators, fields, and special characters

Operator precedence

Search fields

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Subject searching



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Read more about special characters below.

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Operators, fields, and special characters

Note: You can enter operators in either lowercase or uppercase - OR will work the same as or.


Operator Description Example
AND Look for documents that contain all of your words or phrases.
Use AND to narrow your search and get fewer results.
food AND nutrition
OR Look for documents that contain any of your words or phrases.
Use OR to broaden your search and get more results.
food OR nutrition
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Look for documents that contain two search terms, in any order, within a specified number of words apart.  Replace ‘n’ with a number. In the example, 3 means within 3 words. 

Used alone, NEAR defaults to NEAR/4.
Important to know: When you shorten NEAR to N, you must provide a number. For example, internet N/3 media. If you search on internet N media, ProQuest interprets N as a search term, rather than as a proximity operator.

nursing NEAR/3 education
media N/3 women
PRE/n or P/n or -

Look for documents that contain one search term that appears within a specified number of words before a second term.

Replace ‘n’ with a number.  In the example, 4 means the first term precedes the second term by 4 or fewer words. 

A hyphen (-) joining two terms within a search is equivalent to PRE/0 or P/0.

nursing PRE/4 education
shares P/4 technologies

Look for your exact search term in its entirety. Used primarily for searching specific fields, like Subject. For instance, a search on su.exact("higher education"), will return documents with a subject term of "higher education", but not documents with a subject term of "higher education funding".

Important to know: EXACT is not included in the 'operator precedence' list shown above. Unlike the operators listed there—like AND or PRE—EXACT is neither a Boolean or a Proximity operator. EXACT simply allows you to specify with precision occurrences of an 'exact' term, without returning occurrences of multiple-word terms that include your search terms.

Important to know: When you apply the EXACT operator to a search term, you cannot also apply the truncation (*) or wild card (?) characters to the same search term. Use of the EXACT operator implies the desire for exact precision. Both the truncation and wildcard characters undercut that precision by broadening your search.

SU.EXACT("higher education")
SU.X("higher education")


Link a descriptor term to a Subheading (qualifier) by selecting the proper qualifier in the Thesaurus window, or by using the LNK (or --) in Basic, Advanced or Command Line Search.

Also, link two related data elements together, to ensure proper specificity in your search.

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MESH(descriptor LNK qualifier)

MESH("aspirin" LNK "adverse effects")

MESH("aspirin -- adverse effects")




Operator precedence

ProQuest follows a default order when interpreting a search that uses operators to combine search terms. If your search includes operators such as AND or OR, ProQuest combines them in the order indicated below:

  1. PRE
  2. NEAR
  3. AND
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  5. NOT

For example, the search:

education AND elementary NOT secondary

is interpreted in this order:

(education AND elementary) NOT secondary

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Note: For more controlled searching, use parentheses to override ProQuest's default operator precedence.

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For example:

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For more information, see frequently used search fields.

Target search query to multiple search fields at once

For more targeted searching, use multiple field codes with one search query.

  • AB,TI(food) - retrieve documents that have food in the title, or documents that have food in the abstract.
  • AB,TI(food or nursing) - retrieve documents that contain either food or nursing in the abstract, or in the title.

Wildcards and truncation

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Character Description Example

Wildcard character - used to replace any single character, either inside or at the right end of a word. Multiple wildcards can be used to represent multiple characters.

Important to know: A single ? wildcard characer will match both zero and one character... meaning cat? will return matches on both cat and cats. Similarly, cat?? will return matches on catcats, and catch—0, 1, or 2 characters in that example.

Finds: nurse, nurses, and nursed.

Finds: smith and smyth

Finds: ad, ads, adds, added, adult, adopt

Truncation character (*) - retrieves variations of the search term. Use the truncation character at the end (right-hand truncation) or in the middle of search terms. Each truncated word can return up to 500 word variations.

Standard truncation (*) retrieves variations on the search term, replacing up to 5 characters.

Defined truncation ([*n]) replaces up to the number of characters specified, for example [*9]. The maximum number of characters that can be entered is 20.

Finds: farm, farms, farmer, farming

Finds: colour, color


Important to know: You cannot enter a wildcard (?) or truncation (*) character at the left-hand/leading position of a search term. For example, *old or ?tion would both be invalid searches. You also cannot search with a single wildcard (?) or single truncation (*) character. Both are invalid searches.
Important to know: Any terms retrieved using either truncation (*) or wildcard (?) characters are not considered when sorting your results based on relevance. That's because there is no way for ProQuest to assess the relevance of these terms to your research. For example, your search for 'bio*' could return occurrences of any or all of these terms: 'bionic' or 'biosynthesis' or 'biodegrade' or 'biographic.' One, some, all, or none could be relevant to your research.
[*n] [*n] is used to denote up to how many characters you want to truncate.

Finds: nutrition, nutrient, nutrients

< Less than. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(<2005)
> Greater than. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(>2005)
<= Less than or equal to. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(<=2005)
>= Greater than or equal to. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(>=2005)
- Use a hyphen to indicate a range when searching numerical fields, such as Publication date. YR(2005-2008)

Subject searching

Qualifiers (subheadings)

Qualifiers help you focus your search on specific aspects of a subject. For example, use the "adverse effects" qualifier with a drug name to find documents about adverse effects of that drug.

You can search with qualifiers by using either of the following syntaxes:

  • MESH(aspirin LNK "adverse effects")

  • MESH(aspirin -- "adverse effects")

You can also use abbreviations for qualifiers in MEDLINE.

For example, in MEDLINE, use the abbreviation ae in place of adverse effects:

MESH(acetaminophen -- ae)

Thesauri subject terms with qualifiers

MeSH (MEDLINE) provides the ability to view qualifiers associated with subject terms, then select them for use.


Subject searching with thesauri

With a thesaurus open, you can:

  • Search for subject terms
  • Browse all subject terms
  • Add one or more subject terms to your search

See Thesaurus to learn more.


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