Boolean Search, Explained.
In Linkedin Advice for a Friend I cover that it is beneficial to understand Boolean search which is used widely by research departments and search consultants. So, what is Boolean search?
Boolean search is based on Boolean Algebra introduced by George Boole in a couple of books he wrote in the mid 1800’s. Where elementary algebra describes numerical operations, Boolean algebra formulized logical operations or the truth values of false and true. Though you may now fear a deeper dive into the scholarly aspects of Boolean we shan’t.
Boolean algebra is essential to contemporary computing and is employed by all relevant programming languages. Database searches are essentially based on Boolean logic, allowing selection of parameters in results to include and exclude as chosen. The Internet and most databases are simply a vast collection of information where Boolean concepts work best.
Boolean in search is simply a means to include, exclude and/or join variables in a search. If you want to search for a peanut butter sandwich, with Boolean you would ask for Peanut Butter AND Jelly or else you might see PB and pickle sandwiches in your query results.
Boolean utilizes “operators” AND, OR or NOT. Though not all search engines utilize Boolean the same (Google I’ve been told doesn’t support NOT) in or out by the means of Boolean is vital to pair a contact list for a search or project. Examples for a physician leader search would be physician AND executive, MHA OR MBA, MD NOT DO. Boolean operators must be capitalized.
Most popular search engines support Boolean operators, but the rudimentary search tool you’ll find on most websites may not. If you would like to benefit from Boolean search techniques and how using parentheses and operators will result in potentially better search results you will find a plethora on the Internet. As far as use for your candidacy, by understanding that your prominence and very appearance in searches conducted by those looking for candidates will be directly impacted by the words included in your profile. Referring to your profile, if you put PB&J, which everyone knows is a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, you will not be found with the search parameters of peanut butter AND jelly. In fact, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich might not be found with the search query of peanut AND butter. Understanding that acronyms need to be used and spelled out is extremely important because Boolean search will give the user exactly what they are searching for. Running a Microsoft based search for yourself on Bing may be a good test of your keywords.
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