WESTLAW NEXT Tip of the Week: Searching With Boolean Terms and Connectors

August 29, 2011

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WestSearch supports and processes both simple descriptive terms and Terms and Connector (Boolean) searches. To conduct a precise search where your results are guaranteed to have the words you input, you can confidently use Boolean searching on WestlawNext®. Here’s how:

Automatic Detection

The search box can be used for many different types of searches including citations, party names, and descriptive terms. When you enter Boolean syntax into the search box, WestSearch automatically identifies your desired search method.

Automatic Detection of Boolean Searches ChartSo what syntax triggers a Boolean search? Whenever your search contains a field restrictor, proximity connector (+s, /p), or expander (!, #, %, *), it is automatically processed as a Boolean search. Here are a few examples:

  • hazard! /s waste /s dispos!
  • burden +s proof prov!
  • past /p consideration
  • wrongful! /5 terminat!

Note that using quotation marks, ampersands (&), and spaces will not automatically trigger a Boolean search. In fact, using these operators would result in your issue being run as a simple descriptive terms search.

Using Boolean Terms and Connectors

Westlaw Boolean Terms and Connectors ChartOnce WestSearch recognizes that your search uses Boolean operators (i.e. one of the connectors or expanders above is used), then all of the westlaw.com Boolean rules apply. For example, spaces in the query are processed with an OR connector between the terms. Phrases in quotation marks are processed as an exact phrase.

The ability to use Boolean searches on WestlawNext means you’ll always be able to control your search and retrieve precise results.

Coming Soon …

Want to find out how to run a Boolean search for a single phrase, or use the ‘AND’ or ‘OR’ connectors without other connectors, expanders or document fields? Stay tuned for next week’s WestlawNext Tip of the Week.

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