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Chapter 3. Basic Search Tools > Using Wildcards

Using Wildcards

Searching with wildcards—sometimes referred to as truncation—means using a special character, typically an asterisk, to indicate that you want to look for variations on a particular word, like medic* to find references to medical, medicine, medicinal, and medication.

Rules differ from one search engine to the next, but most require that you use at least three other characters along with the asterisk. And it's usually a good idea to also include at least one other unique keyword in your query (Figure 3.12). Otherwise, your search may take painfully long and return too many hits to be truly useful.


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