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Truncation is a searching technique used in databases in which a word ending is replaced by a symbol.


Frequently used truncation symbols include:

  • asterisk (*)
  • question mark (?)
  • dollar sign ($)
  • Some may also use an exclamation mark (!).

Different databases use different truncation symbols so it is important to check the database 'Help' information or 'Search Tips' for details about which symbol to use.

Truncation enables different forms of a word to be searched for simultaneously, and will increase the number of search results found.

  • For example:  If the truncation symbol is *, then the truncated word,  laugh*, will search for results containing laugh, laughter, laughing etc.

Note: Placing the truncation symbol too soon in a word should be avoided.

  • For example: hum* will search for results containing humour, but it will also retrieve unrelated terms like human, humbug, humerus, hummus etc.