3.12 Truncation

Most catalogues, databases and internet search engines allow you to use symbols to retrieve different forms of keywords in your assignment topic.

These are known as truncation or wildcard symbols.

For example:

  • theor* would retrieve theory or theorise or theories or theoretical or theoretically or theorised, etc. Note possible spelling variations theorise or theorize. Both of these would be picked up by the use of truncation.

  • Wom?n will locate either woman or women.


Truncation and wild card symbols vary between catalogues and databases. Use the Help information to find out if you should use *, !, $, or # for truncating.

The University of Sydney Library Catalogue uses * to replace characters within a word or sequence of words, with ** to replace more than five characters.

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