Searching Solutions: Non-Indexed Examples

Understanding how searching changes from search engine to database.

Examples of General (non-indexed) Databases

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Basic Search

This search looks for the search terms in the citation or, when available, the full text. Duplicate citations are collected together and called "versions".

  • Boolean terms: +, AND, OR, NOT, -
  • Processing order: Unclear (use parentheses)

Advanced Scholar Search (Drop-down menu)

  • With all of the words [AND]
  • With the exact phrase ["_"  Note: only one phrase per search]
  • With at least one of the words [OR]
  • Without the words [NOT]
  • Words anywhere in the article [including full text searches]
  • Words in the title
  • Articles authored by, published in, or dated between

Web of Science

Web of Scienct

Basic Search

The basic "topic” search seeks citations that include all of the individual terms entered. Only the following fields are searched:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Author keywords
  • Keywords plus (additional terms based articles with similar terms)

Note: A search does not retrieve subject headings from the indexed databases hosted by Web of Science (e.g. BIOSIS).

Phrase Searching

Use quotation marks for a phrase appearing in one of the four fields. For terms not in quotation marks, Web of Science looks for alternate forms of each word (e.g., search goals and find goal).

Both AGT and EVT will pull up the same article, even if the abstract says something like, “EVT has nothing to do with my understanding of AGT”.

Boolean Searching

  • Boolean terms: AND, OR and NOT
  • Processing order: The order of the terms in which the terms are entered:

Example: "strategic goals AND Smith OR Liu" is actually:
(strategic goals AND Smith) OR Liu

To correct this, use the Advanced Search option or:

  • Click on Search History
  • Go to the search and click on Edit Sets
  • Add (or correct) the parentheses

Advanced Options

  • Proximity indicators and other search terms: SAME, NEAR/x (default is 15 words)
  • Wildcard: Asterisk (*)
  • Use Search History to combine and manage searches

ProQuest - Non-indexed databases and Multi-database searches


Basic Search

Many of the individual databases are indexed, but Proquest offers a variety of options to search across multiple databases. Click the Databases link at the top of the page to expand or limit your choices of databases. A ProQuest Basic Search will search all available fields, including subjects applied by individual databases. Note: if there is no Thesaurus listed under Advanced Search, the database / search engine is not indexed. However, it may pull items (and their subject headings) from indexed databases)

Advanced Search (link at the top of the page)

  • Boolean terms: AND, OR, NOT
  • Proximity indicators: NEAR/#, n/# (number required); PRE, PRE/#, p/# (default of 4 words)
  • Processing order: PRE, NEAR, AND, OR, NOT.
  • Additional search options: EXACT, .e; Hyphen (-), LNK
  • Wildcards; Asterisk (*) used at the end or middle of a word; Question mark (?)


  • ProQuest non-indexed searches include: ProQuest Core Collection
  • ProQuest non-indexed databases include: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, Index Islamicus



Although Scopus claims to be an indexed database, what is indexed are the journals, not the individual citations.

Advanced Search (link above search box)

  • Boolean terms: AND, OR, AND NOT
  • Proximity indicators: W/x, PRE/x
  • Processing order: OR, W/x and PRE/x, AND, AND NOT
  • Wildcards: Question Mark (?), Asterisk (*)
  • Combine searches