George Boole, 1815 - 1864

George Boole was an English mathematician who helped establish the field of mathematics called symbolic logic. Boolean logic uses words called operators. The three main operators are: AND, OR and NOT.

Databases use Boolean logic to locate only those items that match your search. The blue areas in the following diagrams represent the results you would receive from doing a search using the Boolean operators AND or OR in the same database:

using OR retrieves a large number of items:


using AND narrows the number of items returned:

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Modified 2005 from The University of Texas at Austin's TILT by members of the LSU Libraries Reference Department.
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