Announcement: “Boolean Strings” network has been created!

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Network for Sourcers, Recruiters & other professionals. Share Boolean search strings, web sourcing tricks, and review tools. The networks is based on the ning platform and has forums, groups, blogs etc. Please join here:

“Boolean” Update

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I have updated several pages on this site:

  • Trials (please feel free to suggest other links to put on the page)
  • Resources (please feel free to suggest other links to put on the page)
  • Boolean Study Group (the next group starts on Feb 9th 2009; please email me at [email protected]  if you would like to receive more info).
Also please check out two recent articles:
  • Thanks!

    Boolean Quiz – Correct Answers and Statistics

    booleanstringsUncategorized 4 Comments

    Dear Boolean Contest Participant,

    Below you will find a summary of our Quiz.


    What results would you get if you searched for the word Manager when sourcing resumes on Google?

    “Manager” only — 50.9% answers
    “Manager,” “Management,” “Managed,” etc. — 49.1% answers — This is correct. Google “autostems”.

    If you add the wildcard * at the end of a partial word, Google with search for words with the given beginning; for example, consu* will tell it to search for each of these words: consul, consultant, and consulting.

    yes — 77.2% answers
    no — 11.1% answers — This is correct; * means “a word or a few words” on Google. It cannot be used as a wildcard. Searching for “consu*” will find only “consu” but not consultant etc. Look here for more info:
    sometimes — 11.7% answers

    If you do a Google search and it says there are 3,500 results, then you can view:

    no more than 350 results — 7.0% answers
    no more than 1000 results — 26.1% answers — This is correct. Try running a search that would return many results and go to the very last page. You will never see any results beyond 1000.
    3,500 results — 26.1% answers
    all 3,500 results but ONLY if you “repeat the search with the omitted results included” — 33.8% answers

    If you forget to capitalize OR and AND, then Google will include these words in its search along with other words from your string.

    yes — 55.0% answers
    no — 45.0% answers — This is correct. If not capitalized, these words will not serve as operators but they will not be included in searches as they are too common.

    Which two Internet search engines recognize proximity searching?

    Google and Altavista — 24.8% answers
    Altavista and Exalead — 10.8% answers
    Google and Yahoo — 49.7% answers
    none of the above — 14.6% answers  — This is correct. It used to be Altavista and Exalead up till recently and now it’s only Exalead. Google, Yahoo and Altavista do not support proximity searches.

    If you capitalize the word OR on Google this word will be used as a Boolean operator

    yes — 86.9% answers — This is correct.
    no — 13.1% answers

    It is helpful to use the symbol @ when searching for email addresses on Google.

    yes — 56.5% answers
    no — 30.6% answers  — This is correct. @ is a special character and is ignored by Google along with other special characters. (There are a few exceptions where special characters such as ~ or + mean something but @ never means anything special in Google.)
    only for some domain names — 12.9% answers

    If you capitalize the word NOT on Google this word will be used as a Boolean operator

    yes — 63.5% answers
    no — 36.5% answers — This is correct. Google doesn’t recognize the word NOT as an operator.

    If you capitalize the word NOT on Yahoo this word will be used as a Boolean operator

    yes — 42.1% answers
    no — 36.5% answers — This is correct. Yahoo doesn’t recognize the word NOT as an operator.

    To look for special characters on Google, you need to put them inside the quotation marks. Example: “top 10%” will look for results that say top 10%.

    yes — 72.6% answers
    no — 27.4% answers — This is correct. Quotation marks do not help Google recognize special characters; Google still ignores them.

    The symbol = is a special, reserved symbol and it tells Google to look for words that should go one after another, word1=word2

    yes — 61.8% answers
    no — 38.2% answers — This is correct. Special characters are ignored and the symbol = has no special meaning. You could say word1\word2 or word1.word2 etc. and get the same results.

    You can find every profile on LinkedIn by using search on Google, with the addition of some keywords.

    yes — 66.9% answers
    no — 33.1% answers — This is correct. Profiles marked by LinkedIn users as “private” will not be indexed by Google.

    It is possible to use Google to search for resumes within 50 miles of a given zip code in the US

    yes — 60.6% answers — This is correct. Making use of Google’s numrange search functionality, you can search a site such as and find all of the zip codes in a certain mile radius from a central zip code. Once you identify all of the zip codes, you can take the lowest and the highest zip code values and put them into a search like this: 33503..34755, which is 50 miles from 33647 in Tampa
    no —  39.4% answers

    Google ignores common words (like “the” or “be” etc.). However, there’s a way to tell Google to include them.

    yes — 83.5% answers — This is correct. Use the symbol + and the word will be included: +be, +the
    no —  16.5% answers

    If you ran this search on Google, what would happen? -(intitle:resume | inurl:resume) It will…

    include all results with the word “resume” in the title AND/OR url — 48.9% answers  — This is correct. Google will ignore the minus sign if you put it before a bracket
    exclude all results with the word “resume” in the title AND url — 13.7% answers
    exclude all results with the word “resume” in the title OR url — 37.4% answers

    Google will always look for variations of your keywords; say, if you look for child, it will include children. (This is called auto-stemming.) However, there’s a way to alter the search string so that Google will not do this.

    yes — 84.1% answers — This is correct. Use the symbol + and the word will be included
    no —  15.9% answers

    For the query word1 word2 Google will:

    look for both words word1 and word2, and will do the same as for the query word2 word1 — 33.1% answers
    look for both words and will place the occurrence of the phrase “word1 word2” early in the results — 36.7% answers — This is sort-of correct but other factors matter as well. If you type a long sentence into Google without quotes it will search for the sentence first. (So I admit this was not a great question.)
    look for both words and will give word1 a higher weight than word2 (will think word1 is more important for you to see in the results) — 30.2% answers
    I will not count any answer to this question as a point.

    Boolean Study Group for Sourcers and Recruiters

    booleanstringsUncategorized 5 Comments

    Hi all,

    I am planning to lead a month-long Boolean Study Group in January 2009 in a virtual classroom. Participants will be suggesting real-life searches and we will be crafting Boolean strings for them and parsing search results. The group will help participants to do their job and find candidates on the Internet as well as study Boolean. (Imagine placing a few candidates as a result.)

    The study group will be different from other classes that are offered in two ways: 1) We will not have class hours. The group will be forum-based. 2) We will be developing custom searches for every participant.

    Participants will also receive some materials to take home such as “A Brief How-To Guide for a Boolean Beginner”.

    Further details and the pricing can be found here.