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A Quick Guide to Using Boolean: Top 5 Tricks

A Quick Guide to Using Boolean: Top 5 Tricks

Improve your search results with Boolean search operators.

Introduction to Boolean

First off, what the heck is Boolean you may be asking? Boolean search operators are simple terms like AND, OR and NOT or modifiers like quotation marks “”, parentheses () or an asterix*. You use these in conjunction with your search terms to help narrow down your search.

Most search engines, databases and of course library catalogues allow you to use these when looking for books or articles.

Top Tip 1: AND

This makes sure that your search results include all the words you need.

e.g. Zombies AND Aliens

It will remove any results that do not contain all these terms.

Top Tip 2: NOT

This is a great option for editing out results when searching.

e.g. Apocalypse AND Zombies NOT Aliens

Top Tip 3: Quotation marks “”

Quotation marks are one of my favourite search modifiers. Use them to make sure you have an exact match returned. This can be handy for a book or article title if you know exactly what you are looking for.

e.g. “Brave new world”

Top Tip 4: Asterix *

This little “star” is better known as a wildcard and is a pro tip for those who struggle with spelling or want to find results with a variation of the keyword.

e.g. If you use it with say the word Develop* it will return results including “development,” “developer,” and “developing.”

Top Tip 5: Parentheses ()

This is where you can start to get fancy! Use parentheses to group together keywords and control the order they will be searched for.

e.g. (Alien OR Zombie) AND Apocalypse

Now there is another Boolean operator OR (seen above helping out the zombie and alien search) which didn’t make the top 5 but is definitely top 6. Use OR to allow results using multiple keywords.

e.g. (Aliens OR Zombies OR Kittens) AND Apocalypse.

Combining Terms

The best thing about Boolean is it allows you to combine all these operators to make highly specific searches saving you time and effort trawling through pages of results.

e.g. (Aliens OR Zombies) AND Apocalypse AND “Tuesday Morning” Start*


Our LibrarySearch Library catalogue helps you to get started with this. Simply click on “Advanced Search” and you will see options to use Boolean operators.

Screenshot of Librarysearch Boolean search operators

So why not give them a go today!

By Juliet Kinsey

Read more study tips in our article on preparing for exams.


National Limerick Day

National Limerick Day

National Limerick Day celebrates Limericks. A limerick is a short, often humorous, and sometimes rude poem consisting of five lines. The first, second and fifth lines should rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines should rhyme with each other. The first line usually introduces a person and place, and the place name will be at the end of the line eg.

There was a Young Lady of Dorking,
Who bought a large bonnet for walking;
But its colour and size,
So bedazzled her eyes,
That she very soon went back to Dorking.

This establishes the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. Due to their short and simple structure limericks are a popular form among amateur poets.

Although the word “limerick” is a reference to the Irish city and county, it may be derived from a form of nonsense verse parlour game which included the line “Will/won’t you come up to Limerick” and it is believed that limericks actually originated in England.

Edward Lear

They were popularized by Edward Lear in his books A Book of Nonsense (1846) and More Nonsense Pictures, Rhymes, Botany, etc (1872). He wrote 212 limericks which would accompany an absurd illustration on the same subject. Amongst the most famous of these is the opening poem from A Book of Nonsense:


Feeling inspired? Why not try writing your own limerick, you might be interested in reading more about them. You can use LibrarySearch to access several e-books and articles. And if you are interested in poetry there are over 1,500 poetry books at Merchiston campus library and thousands more e-books available online. You can also read Edward Lear’s work online here.

By Vivienne Hamilton


Read more articles on unusual days such as May the Fourth and World sleep day

Returning borrowed items

Returning borrowed items

It’s almost the end of term and time to take a break from studies and relax. You may be planning to return home, go on holiday or do some work experience, but before you go-just a quick reminder to return the books, laptops and ergonomic equipment which you might not need to use over the summer. It’s time to return borrowed items to the library.

Information on returning borrowed items

Books and laptops can be returned even when the helpdesks are closed, as long as there is access to campus. Ergonomic equipment should be returned to the helpdesks during staffed hours.
Libraries will be open throughout the summer should you wish to bring items back later in the summer. And if you have any questions, you can always ask. 
If you have fines which you would like to query, you can submit a fine appeal form along with any supporting evidence, and you will receive an answer promptly. Information on fines and charges can be found here.
We hope you enjoy your summer break and look forward to seeing you again in September. Remember- it’s never too late to return items to us! One book was returned over a hundred years later to a San Francisco public library. And you can read about  some rather valuable late returns

Good luck with your exams and final assignments

Also, remember we have our virtual relaxation space  

Additionally, our online wellbeing area. 

Each campus library has a relaxation space and wellbeing areas too

By Vivienne Hamilton

photo source: unspash Kimberly Farmer  

Wild Animals of Scotland Update

Wild Animals of Scotland Update

Ospreys in 2023

Here is a wee wild animals of Scotland update. For those of you who have followed Scotland’s osprey visitors in previous years, we have some great news! NC0 and her mate LM12 have returned to Loch of the Lowes and have been getting the nest ready and it looks like there’s one egg so far. The webcam is live so you can follow the birds and hopefully their young over the summer months.


Not to be outdone by his Perthshire cousins Louis has returned to the Loch Arkaig nest in record time and is busy fishing and looking out for his mate Dorcha.

Hopefully, there will be plenty to see on the webcams over the summer!


Furthermore, in very exciting news the first-ever Scottish wildcat release has been approved. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) will oversee the trial release of these endangered wildcats into the Cairngorms National Park. These beautiful creatures have become almost extinct. Years of habitat loss, persecution and hybridisation with domestic cats have brought the Scottish wildcat population to the brink of extinction. (source). Hopefully, this plan will help to save these “Highland Tigers”.


In addition, another animal that was successfully introduced was the Scottish beaver back in 2009 and things are going well with a growing population. Similarily to the Wildcats this began as a trial and has now seen the beaver population reach over one thousand.

Managing Ecosystems

The reintroduction and conservation of Wildlife, however, is a complicated matter, with many factors involved. You can read more on these subjects using Librarysearch.co.uk 

Read more on the Ospreys in earlier articles on them like this one: The Ospreys have returned

By Vivienne Hamilton


Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash

Stress Awareness Month

  Stress awareness month

April is stress awareness month, its aim is to remind us of the importance of taking time to pause and understand what the purpose of stress is, our triggers, how it affects us physically and mentally, and the impact it has in our day-to-day lives. 

It began in April 1992 in response to the rising crisis that stress has caused in our society. It is designed to open up conversations about stress in our lives and remove some of the stigmas around talking about stress.

This Year

The month also allows us to look at the methods that can be applied to help us deal with stress and become more resilient. Furthermore, it asks us to take a holistic approach to stress looking at not only our minds but the health of our bodies also.

The 30 Day Challenge

This year Stress.org.uk is challenging people to pick one action each for their Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-being to carry out every day. This is based on the idea that it takes 30 days to create a new habit. For instance, Why not try taking the stairs instead of the lift, eat one extra vegetable with Dinner or make a little time each day to meditate. Check out their website for more ideas.

University Resources

Look out for various activities and events that may be happening in your workplace or online. You can visit your staff Internet’s Health & Wellbeing page to see what services are available.

For students, visit your University’s Wellbeing page, and see what they offer. This may include signposting you to other organizations.

Additionally, Students at Edinburgh Napier University can access the Student Wellbeing, Support and Inclusion page using the following link: Wellbeing Support and Inclusion

Or perhaps you would like to look at the various resources our library offers, by visiting the Libguide’s Wellbeing Collection page.

Why not check out our Virtual Relaxation Space for a wide range of activities to relax with.


Above all, The most important thing to take away is, you are not alone and there is help available.

Information related to stress can also be found on the NHS website and there is support available from many sources through the University Webpages.


Sharing ideas:

What do you do to relieve stress, let us know in the comments? 


How to reduce stress:


Breathing Exercises

Go for walks in nature

Spend time with loved ones


Playing games


By Mo Almas








Cherry blossom festival

Cherry blossom festival

When walking or travelling around Edinburgh lately you may have noticed the glorious pink and white blossom on the cherry trees. Because of the colourful blossom, the trees are a favourite in parks and gardens alike. We enjoy the blossom during its short flowering period, but in Japan, the event is turned into a festival.

Cherry blossom festival in Japan

Every spring the islands of Japan are covered in swathes of delicate pink as the cherry trees blossom. Steeped in history and tradition, the cherry blossom season is a highlight of the Japanese calendar. The Japanese tradition of the cherry blossom festival (hanami) is a centuries-old celebration. Hanami means “viewing flowers” and the tradition is believed to date back more than 1,000 years to when aristocrats enjoyed looking at the blossoms and wrote poems inspired by them. The arrival of the blossoms also meant that rice planting could begin.

Cherry blossoms normally begin blooming in January in Okinawa and reach their peak in late March to April in the Honshu region. In Hokkaido, cherry blossoms are usually in full bloom in May, and usually appear in Tokyo and Kyoto sometime between March and April, depending upon the climate earlier in the year.

What happens during the festival?

The most popular type of cherry tree is the Sakura, and the blooms only last around two weeks. During this time the Japanese flock to parks where they hold picnics under the trees. The parks can become very busy, and it can become difficult to find the perfect spot. Although the blossom is the festival’s main attraction there are also traditional Japanese performances and street festivals. Artificial lights are used to ensure parties can last well into the night.

Arguably no country celebrates the cherry blossom with the excitement of Japan, but Hanami is also celebrated to a lesser extent in China, Korea, and Taiwan. Smaller celebrations can be enjoyed throughout the U.S. and Europe.

You can read about our previous Spring post

Or find some reading with our Lions Gate Garden Collection on LibrarySearch 

Photo source: AJ unsplash 

Clocks going forward 2023

Clocks going forward 2023

It’s now springtime. Days and nights are getting longer and it will soon be time to put the clocks forward as daylight saving time or British Summer Time (BST) begins. Don’t be late for work or that important meet-up with friends. Remember that the clocks go forward in the UK at 01:00 on Sunday, March 26 2023. If you would like to learn more about daylight saving time, click on the link below:


Make the most of the longer summer nights by getting out and about in the fresh air. Exercise is good for both physical and mental health. Read how extra daylight is good for our health by following the link below:


By Vivienne Hamilton

Image by Photo by Abdul A on Unsplash

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all our Irish students and staff.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on 17th March. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but there are parades and parties worldwide due to the large numbers of people with Irish heritage spread across the world.


History of St.Patrick’s Day

Although there are no exact dates of his birth, it is believed that Patrick was born in the Roman-occupied north of England. and that he died on 17th March. His autobiographical work “Confessio” claims that when he was around 16, Patrick was taken from his home in Britain by Irish pirates who took him to Ireland as a slave. There he looked after animals for around six years and converted to Christianity. He fled captivity after hearing a voice telling him he would soon go home. He found passage on a ship and after several days walking he returned home. Following his return, Patrick studied Christianity in Europe-mostly in Auxerre, France and was ordained into the priesthood there. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary, and by the 7th century was already revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

The Irish Potato Famine

There are many people throughout the world with Irish ancestors due to the large numbers who emigrated because of the Irish Potato Famine. It started in 1845 when a fungus ruined around 75% of the annual potato crop, which most of the population relied on for food. Around one million Irish died before the end of the famine in 1852. Another million emigrated to countries such as Great Britain or the United States, and therefore you will find St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in many countries worldwide.


Today descendants of the immigrants celebrate their Irish heritage by dressing up in colourful clothing in green and gold (the colours of the Irish flag), joining parades of pipe bands, cheerleaders, and floats. One of the biggest parades outside Ireland is in New York which held its first parade in 1762. This was a time when the wearing of green was a sign of Irish pride but was banned in Ireland. The parade gave participants the freedom to speak Irish, wear green, sing Irish songs and play the pipes to Irish tunes that were meaningful to the Irish immigrants of that time.

Aside from parades, many pubs and restaurants host events with live music and singing, and you shouldn’t have to look too hard to find one in Edinburgh!

By Vivienne Hamilton

Read more on world festivals and traditions with our articles:

Chinese New Year

Scottish Traditions: Burn’s Night

The Ethiopia Timkat Festival,

New Year Traditions from Around the World

Also, don’t forget you can find out more about everything mentioned in this article at Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk



Pi Anyone? International Pi Day

Pi Anyone? International Pi Day

The 14th of March is International Day of Mathematics and International Pi Day.

What is International Mathematics Day?

On the 26th of November 2019 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) decided March the 14th should be declared the International Day of Mathematics.

The main purpose of the day was to celebrate and highlight the importance of Mathematics. Making people aware mathematics is everywhere and used in everyday life, as well as in specialist industries.

Prior to the birth of International Mathematics Day, the 14th of March was International Pi Day. Continue reading

Changes to the spaces at Craiglockhart library

Changes to the spaces at Craiglockhart library

We have made some changes to the library spaces at Craiglockhart campus over the past few months. By removing unused bookshelves at the rear of the library the area is now much more open and the space is being used more effectively.

The relaxation space has been made larger and is brighter and less confined. There are lots of helpful books and posters promoting relaxation, taking time out from your studies and de-stressing. Look out for our different suggestions throughout the year from birdwatching to beachcombing. We have provided some new games, non-academic books and origami paper. We have increased the amount of seating and returned the cushions and throws to the area.

Shelf Help

Our shelf help books are now in a dedicated space making them easier to find.

The jigsaw tables have been moved away from study spaces and there are extra puzzles to help complete.

There are 4 new single study booths and 2 extra round tables for groups, along with some new social seating. All these spaces are available on a first come first served basis so if you think you would like to use any of them, arrive early as they are proving popular!


Along with the changes to the library spaces some of our PCs now have dual monitors.

We hope you like the changes and think the new spaces are useful, and please remember, your feedback is always welcome.

We have access to shelf help through our blog https://libguides.napier.ac.uk/shelfhelp

And more information on Craiglockhart library https://my.napier.ac.uk/library/about-the-library/craiglockhart


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