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UBC Library Informatics for Nursing: 1.08 Boolean operator: NOT

An overview of searching Academic Literature for Nursing students

1.08 Boolean operator: NOT

Use NOT to exclude unwanted items from your search.



  • osteoarthritis NOT hip

Your search will retrieve items which contain only the first term.

Use NOT with caution.


Let's search in the PubMed using the NOT operator.

  1. Enter the search term apple in the search box. Press Enter. How many items did this search retrieve? 
  2. Enter the search term apple NOT computer in the search box. Press EnterHow many items did this search retrieve? 
  3. See your search history by clicking on the Advanced link.
  4. Did you get MORE or LESS results when combining the search terms with the boolean operator NOT?
  5. Hint: Show me

The NOT operator will exclude the retrieval of terms from your search to exclude unwanted uses or meanings from your search.

Practice Exercise: Boolean Operator NOT

Movie Break: Keyword Search: Using AND, OR, and NOT