For additional help, click on the HELP button on the search screen in the MLA database.
- In the first box, type the word or phrase you wish to find. (See screen shot below.)
- You may combine terms using the Boolean (logical) operators: AND, OR, NOT
Examples: Milton AND women allegory OR allegorical
female protagonists AND French literature
african american literature NOT harlem renaissance
- You can use the truncation symbol, the asterisk *, to find plurals and all variations of a word. Example: female* will find female or females, female characters, female protagonists, female figures, etc. allegor* would find allegory, allegorical, allegorically and any other words that begin with allegor.
- The wildcard symbol, the question mark ?, should be used within words. To use the wildcard, enter your search terms and replace each unknown character with a ?. MLA finds all citations of that word with the ? replaced by a letter.
Example: ne?t will find neat, nest, or next. It will not find net because the wildcard replaces a single character.
- Searches are NOT case sensitive. You can type your term(s) in upper case, lower case, or a combination of the two.
- Use double quotes to indicate a phrase search, that is, the words within the double quotes must be found right next to each other, in the order in which you typed them.