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Business Source Complete (BSC) (Database Instruction)

Business Source Complete is a comprehensive database containing thousands of full-text journals and magazines, e-books, case studies, industry reports, market research reports, company profiles, SWOT analyses, and more.

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators

There are three operators that can be used to expand or limit your search. Operators can be used in conjunction with all other search tools on this page.


Use AND to narrow your search.

This search will find all results that contain the term retail and wholesale in any order or combination. It will not find records that contain ONLY retail or ONLY wholesale. Both words must be present.


Use OR to expand your search.

This search will find results with at least one of the terms jobs or employment, but not necessarily both of them.



Use NOT to exclude topics from your search.

This search will find results with the term importers but will exclude any results that also contain the word exporters.



  • Operators can be CASE SENSITIVE. For some databases they must be in all caps or they will behave like a regular search term. BSC will search these words as Boolean Operators regardless, but it is a good idea to get used to using all caps as that is how our OneSearch databases recognizes these operators.
  • Searches with multiple operators are processed in the following order, from left to right:
  1. ( ) – Parentheses allow you to group search terms and alter the order of precedence.
  2. AND and NOT – left-to-right precedence is used in case of multiple operators.
  3. OR – left-to-right precedence is used in case of multiple operators.
  • Place NOT operators carefully to ensure that the correct results are excluded. Parentheses are strongly recommended.
  • BSC assumes that you are searching for all of the words unless you type operators between words and phrases.


Searching for a Phrase

A phrase is two or more words that need to be treated as a unit. To search for an exact phrase, and to keep those words together and in the same order as searched, you must enclose the phrase in quotation marks.

This search will not find “honey” or “bee” only “honey bee”

If you do not enclose the phrase, the system will find all words in the search term regardless of whether the words are located next to each other or not.

Because phrases are treated as a unit you can use them in conjunction with operators. Ex. “queen bee” AND “honey bee”



Wildcards are characters that are used to replace unknown elements. You can include the following wildcard characters in your searches:

1. Asterisk Wildcard

The asterisk (*) (also known as the truncation symbol) is mainly used to find various word endings. Type the root of a search term and replace the ending with the asterisk (*). For example, type market* to find the words market, marketing, markets, marketplace, etc.


2. Hash Wildcard

To use the # wildcard, enter your search terms and place # where an alternate spelling might contain an extra character. For example, type labo#rto find all records containing labour or labor.



3. Question-Mark Wildcard

To use the ? wildcard, enter your search terms and replace one unknown character with a ?. For example, type wom?n to find all records including women, woman, or womyn.



4. Combining Wildcards

Wildcards can be combined in a search term. For example, organi#* would retrieve organization, organisation, organizational, organisational, organize, organise, etc.


Nesting search terms - Parentheses

You can use parentheses to enclose search terms and operators to specify the order in which they are interpreted. Information within parentheses is read first, then information outside parentheses is read next. For example,

When you enter ((industry OR sector) AND electronics), the search engine retrieves results containing the word industry or the word sector together with the word electronics in the fields searched by default.

If there are nested parentheses, the search engine processes the innermost parenthetical expression first, then the next, and so on until the entire query has been interpreted.

This operates exactly the same as when you enter your search on multiple lines with Boolean operators, without nesting in parentheses.  ((industry OR sector) AND electronics) will retrieve the same results as the multi-line search to the left.

This is because the Advanced search screen gives us some preset nesting behaviors. The search lines work as if they are parenthesis. Each search line is separated by a dropdown with Boolean operators.  

These same type of operations can be done in a one-line search system, such as the BSC basic search, or Google. Use parentheses to group terms to clarify the order of multiple operators specified in a query.