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Basic Terms & Connectors Searching

This research guide will offer help with basic terms and connectors searching in Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law.

Comparison Chart of Connectors and Wildcards

Connectors and Wildcards

Connectors & Wildcards Chart
Description Bloomberg Law Lexis Westlaw Examples
Both Terms MUST be present

a space between words

and

and &

BL & LX: trademark and infringement

BL: trademark infringement

WL: trademark & infringement

Either or both terms must be present or or (a space between words will be treated as an "or" only if no other connectors appear in the search)

a space between words

or

car or automobile

WL: car automobile

Terms must be in the same sentence

S/

/s

/sent

w/sent

w/s

/s

all of these options are read as near/25

/s

w/s

design /s defect
Terms must be in the same paragraph

P/

/p

/para

w/para

w/p

/p

all of these options are read as near/75

/p trademark /p infringement
Terms must be within x words or fewer of each other

N/x

/x

w/x

x= a number up to 255

near/x

/x

x= any number

/x

x= any number up to 255

trademark /50 infringement
Terms must be within x words and in the order specified

NP/x

pre/x

+x

x= a number up to 255

pre/x

x= any number

+x

x= any number up to 255

LX, BL: search pre/3 arrest

BL, WL: search +3 arrest

Exact phrase enclose in quotes

enclose in quotes

space between words

enclose in quotes "res judicata"
Exclude a term (literal exclusion)

not

and not

but not

and not

%

but not

LX, BL: collateral and not estoppel

WL: collateral % estoppel

Bl: collateral not estoppel

Nesting / Grouping Search Terms Enclose in parenthesis Enclose in parenthesis

Enclose in parenthesis

(dog and cat) or bird
Expand root word by any number of letters !

!

*

!

liab! will find liable or liability

LX: liab*  will find liable or liability

Permit variation for a single character *

?

*

WL: wom*n would find woman or women

LX: wom?n would find woman or women

 

Permit variation for multiple characters

*

Use the number of * to stand for the number of characters (or fewer if at the end of the word)

?

Use the number of * or ? to stand for the number of characters (or fewer if at the end of the word)

*

Use the number of * to stand for the number of characters (or fewer if at the end of the word)

WL: illustrat** will find illustrate, illustrated, but not illustrating

"res ipsa loquit*r" will find res ipsa loquitor or res ipsa loquitur

LX: illustrat?? will find illustrate, illustrated but not illustrating.

Res ipsa loquit?r will find res ipsa loquitor or res ipsa loquitur

Plurals Does not automatically search for plurals (but you can check "include word variations") regular plurals, possessives, and some irregular plurals are searched automatically

regular plurals, possessives, and some irregular plurals are searched automatically

** Only plurals are searched if the plural is used

LX, WL: crime will find crime or crimes

WL: crimes will only search crimes

LX: crimes will find crime or crimes

Hyphenated Terms / Compound Words If a term might be hyphenated, include all possible variations. Hyphenated form retrieves all variations. Hyphenated form retrieves all variations

LX, Wl: at-will searches atwill, at-will, or at will

BL: at-will finds at-will but not atwill or at will

Acronyms Include all possible variations. Include all possible variations. Use periods and include the spelled out variation.

BL, LX: irs or i.r.s. or "internal revenue service"

WL: i.r.s. or "internal revenue service"

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