I need to teach a quick lesson on e-journal searching, e.g. to search for one item, excluding certain terms, or another item.

What is the most common query language that students will most likely encounter?

  • I've seen conflicting uses of AND and OR a lot. The AND keyword should be an intersection, but at my campus it is a union. So, tl;dr, ymmv. May 20 '14 at 12:41

Academic databases are built for people who have no idea what a 'query language' is. I agree that the world would be a much better place if everyone knew a little bit of SQL, but it's not like that.

The only exception that I know is Zentralblatt, an academic database specialized to mathematics which includes a sort of text-based query language.

Every other academic database that I have worked with uses custom-made input masks where you can select manually fields to search on and logical operators; they look like this example, again from Zentralblatt.

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