Answered By: Terra Rogerson
Last Updated: Apr 02, 2020     Views: 357

The wildcard is an advanced searching technique. Wildcards are used in search terms to represent one or more other characters.

The two most commonly used wildcards are:

  • An asterisk (*) may be used to specify any number of characters. It is typically used at the end of a root word, when it is referred to as "truncation." This is great when you want to search for variable endings of a root word.
    • For example:  searching for educat* would tell the database to look for all possible endings of that word. Results will include educateeducatededucation, educational or educator.
  • question mark (?) may be used to represent a single character, anywhere in the word. It is most useful when there are variable spellings for a word, and you want to search for all variants at once.  
    • For example, searching for colo?r would return both color and colour.  

Each databases (and internet search engines) can use the wildcard differently. Look for the "help" link (usually along the top of the screen) to find a wildcard guide. 


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