How databases store information and the rules they use to retrieve that information vary from database to database but share some very basic premises. Some represent organizational techniques common to all databases (e.g. Boolean operators, stopwords, wildcards, etc.) while others represent less common techniques (e.g. plurals, proximity). The Database Searching Basics (PDF) document represents a general overview of search terminology and strategies that apply to most databases. To learn the exact search criteria for a given database, find a link labeled help or tips or some other similar variation on providing assistance with using the database (e.g. how to..., searching in..., etc.).