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How to Use Gale Virtual Reference Library: Searching GVRL

Searching GRVL

​Basic Search

Locate relevant entries based on your search term(s). Basic search is a good place to start your research.

Advanced Search

Customize your search with more limiting options to target relevant results. You can use advanced search to run complex searches for specific results, or to perform open searches for a broad view of available content.

Subject: Choose this field to search document tags and find results fully focused on your topic. Try subject if your basic search produces too many results.

Entire Document: Pick this option to search within the entire text of eBooks. This option performs a broad search for any mention of your terms, so you can find precise phrases within results, or locate articles that touch on specific concepts. 

Image Caption: Select this field to search captions from photographs, illustrations, charts, etc. Use this search to find chapters with relevant visuals. 

Search Operators: Use these drop-downs to connect your search terms. AND ensures your results mention both terms. OR broadens your search to results mentioning either term. NOT excludes a term.

Combining Search Terms & Boolean Logic

AND, OR, NOT Logical Operators

You can use the following logical operators (also known as Booleans) in your searches:

  • Use AND to find all of your search terms
  • Use OR to find one, some, or all of your search terms
  • Use NOT before a term that you want to exclude

Some prefer to capitalize the logical operators, but this is not required.

Sample searches

  •      children and travel finds documents that contain both terms, children and travel anywhere within the searched text.
  •      postmortem or autopsy finds documents that contain either postmortem or autopsy or both. At least one of your terms must be present. OR is good to use when searching for variant spellings or synonymous terms.
  •      "benjamin franklin" not bache finds documents that contain the term Benjamin Franklin, but that do not contain the term Bache. This  would include documents that mention Benjamin Franklin, but not his great-grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache.

How to search for and, or, not as words

When your search term includes and, or, or not as words rather than logical operators, enclose your search terms in double quotation marks. For example: "black and white photographs"

More on Searching

Wildcard Characters (Truncation Characters)

You can substitute a special symbol known as a wildcard character for one or more letters when you do not want to include, or do not know, exact spellings.

There are three wildcard characters:

The asterisk (*) stands for any number of characters, including none
The question mark (?) stands for exactly one character
The exclamation point (!) stands for one or no characters

Sample searches

     carib* finds: Carib, Caribs, Caribbean, caribe, caribou, etc.

     psych????y finds: psychiatry and psychology (but not psychotherapy)

     colo!r finds: color and colour

TIP: Many Gale resources require a minimum number of characters (usually three) before you can use the asterisk wildcard, so the following search would not be allowed: ma*


The asterisk (*) character is often referred to as a truncation character. It allows you to take a root word or common part of a word and look for any ending. For example, content about teenage drivers may use the terms, teenage drivers, teen driver, teen driving, and so on. To find all of these variations in a single search, type only the common letters followed by the asterisk (*), as follows:

     teen* driv*

Understanding Search Results

Search Results

Access a list of relevant ebook chapters based on your search. If you have a large number of results, use options to sort and limit the list.

Sort By: Use this drop-down to view documents with the highest relevance based on factors like the frequency and location of references to your search terms. Or, change the order of results based on publication details. 

Search Within: Enter additional terms to quickly focus on results that mention those terms. 

Limiting Options: In one click, limit your search to documents with images, or filter by publication date, subject, and more. Use these options to save time finding the trustworthy information you need. Videos are available in a few specific eBooks. If your library has not acquired these titles, limiting to documents with videos will return zero results. If this happens, click to remove the limit and return to previous results. 

Topic Finder: Click this option to generate a visual representation of your search results by topic and subtopic. As you interact with Topic Finder, it provides an updated list of results. Simply click a document’s title to view the result.

Click the document title to view a chapter. Use View eBook and View Text to toggle the chapter display as desired.

Quick Tips

GVRL supports full-text keyword searching across all of the content on the site.

Using the Basic Search

  • Place words within quotation marks to search for exact phrases (“to be or not to be”).
  • Use Boolean operators to construct a better search (“tea trade” AND china).

Contact Your Librarian

Please contact the Library at 760-245-4271, ext. 2262, if you have any questions or experience any problems with the Library Databases.

Or email the Systems Librarian at