What Is a Boolean String?

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There is no formal definition for the expression “Boolean Strings.” Recruiters and Researchers use the term “Boolean Strings” as a shortcut to advanced Google search strings (i.e., using operators) and, sometimes, searches on LinkedIn or other sites that allow a logical combination of terms.

The word “Boolean” means the logic of AND, OR, and NOT. It was an essential part of Google back in 2008 when the term “Boolean Strings” came into use. But as you will observe:

  1. On Google, using ORs is no longer advised
  2. Google does not strictly follow formal Boolean logic any longer.

The changes come from Google’s growing semantic features and machine learning backend software. In 2022, we should be saying “Google Strings,” not “Boolean Strings,” but the term has become popular.

It is a different story on LinkedIn, where Boolean –

  • long ORs for lists of alternative values
  • long NOTs for excluding false positives

-is a must for effective sourcing (at least until their Developers improve LinkedIn’s semantic features.)

One wrong notion came from various blogs, training presentations, “Boolean Builders” for Google, and Facebook discussions. Many people believe that there is a “best” Boolean string for every search. Not true! Search is an iterative process – your “string” changes all the time in the process. Each search produces results to explore, collect relevant information, and adjust the “Boolean String.”

Welcome to the 6th edition of the 300 Best Boolean Strings (thoroughly revised)! I have refreshed all the strings (a ~30% change compared to the 5th edition) and beefed it up with more strings and explanations. It is a significant rewrite and has 74 pages and 340+ Boolean Strings. The book does not have the “right” strings, but rather, examples to digest, learn the syntax, possibilities, and a way of thinking. I hope you enjoy it.

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