Boolean search is an information retrieval technique that allows several search words and phrases to be combined using operators such as AND, OR, NOT and NEAR. Boolean operators can help to fine-tune the search results and increase accuracy.
Comparison of Boolean Searching for Ask and Aol.
- The Boolean operator AND narrows a search.
- The search will retrieve records with both search keywords present.
- Example: beef AND pizza.
The keyword beef is not included in the results for Ask.
Search results retrieved on Aol. The used of AND operator narrows the search as shown in the table above.
The keywords of “pizza” and “beef” are included in the results for Aol.
- The Boolean + operator is similar with AND operator.
- Example: pizza +beef.
- This will include both keywords pizza and beef in the results.
- Ask does not support this operator as not all the terms are included in the results.
- Aol does support this operator and gets more relevant results.
Some of the results returned do not consist of the keyword beef in Ask.
Search results retrieved on Aol. The results count reduced greatly with the use of + symbol.
Both keywords are included in the results by using + symbol for Aol.
- NOT operator is used to narrow a search by excluding a word in the search.
- A specific search term is excluded so the query will not return any results with that keyword.
- Example: memory NOT card
- This should produce results about memory with no mention of card.
- Both search engines do not support this operator as the word card can be found in the links.
Ask does not support NOT operator as the keyword card is included in the results.
Aol does not support NOT operator as the keyword card should be excluded from the results.
- The “-” symbol is similar with NOT operator.
- Example: card -debit
- This will not generate any results with the word debit despite the word card.
- Ask does not support this operator as the keyword debit should be excluded in the results.
Ask does not support – symbol as webpages with the keyword debit should be excluded from the results.
Search result retrieved on Aol. The used of “-” symbol helps to narrow down the results as shown in the table above.
Aol generates precise results by eliminating webpages which consist of debit keyword.
- The Boolean operator OR is used for widening of a search.
- Example: tadpole OR frog.
- OR operator broadens the search by having the search engine return at least one of the search keywords.
- Both search engines do support this operator.
OR operator retrieved all the records containing one keyword, the other or both in Ask.
Search results retrieved on Aol. More records are retrieved based on the results analyzed in the table above.
OR operator retrieved all the records containing one keyword, the other or both in Aol.
- Words separated by lots of text are generally unrelated.
- NEAR is a restrictive term and limits the search results where keywords entered must appear within a certain number of words of each other.
- Example: network NEAR/5 internet.
- NEAR/5 specifies that two words appear within 5 words of each other.
- Aol and Ask do not support this feature as some of the results consist of only one keywords instead of two.
This feature is not supported by Ask as the keywords are not connected to each other.
Aol does not support this feature as not all keywords are presented in the results.
- The asterisk can replace one or more letters at the end of a word.
- This might help you search for something that can be phrased differently.
- Example: nur*
- This will find webpages containing the words nurse, nursery and nursing.
- Both search engines do not support this sort of single letter search.
The results generated are limited to the word nur instead of other relevance words in Ask.
The results generated are limited to the word nur instead of other relevance words in Aol.
quotation marks ""
- Quotation marks is used to search for an exact phrase. The search engine will not split the phrase up into single word components.
- It is used to significantly narrowing the search results.
- Example: “similar interface design”.
- Putting quotation marks around the words will find webpages containing those three words in that exact order.
- Both search engines do not support this feature based on the results gained.
Most of the results do not return the exact phrase as “similar user interface” in Ask.
Only few results have the exact phrase as "similar user interface" in Aol.
multiples keywords and Boolean operator
- Example: memory -card AND network.
- This is not applicable for Ask as it only support OR operator.
- Aol does support using multiples keywords and operators to narrow the search.
- The results generated webpages that consist the keywords of memory and network and exclude results containing card.
Multiple keywords and Boolean Operators are used to limit the hits for the needed information.
BOTH search engines have its own uniqueness. Ask is more focused on questions so it may be a good resource when you have a question about something. Aol is good as it has a vast content network covering news, entertainment, lifestyle, sports and other topics such as finance or games. However, Aol is better than Ask in the aspect of functionalities based on the research done.