Skip to main content
OCLC Support

Find term variants

Discover how to find variant word endings, spellings, and singular or plural terms in Connexion client.

 Note: The following tips cover finding variants of search terms and finding singular and plural terms. Tips apply to keyword searches in bibliographic and authority save files, both online and local, and to LC authority file keyword/numeric searches, depending on the various search parameters in each search dialog. See Search WorldCat interactively for specific information about using truncation, wildcards, and plural endings.

Find variant word endings or spellings

Use the truncation symbol (*) and character masking (wildcard) symbols (? or #) to include variant or unknown endings or spellings of a word in a search.

 Note: You must precede wildcard symbols (? and #) by at least three characters.

Technique Search foramt and example
Truncation (find variant endings) Use truncation when you want to expand a term to include variant endings or know only the first part of a term.

Enter the first characters of the term, including as many characters as variant terms have in common (include at least three characters). Then enter an asterisk (*).

  • librar* (retrieves library, libraries, librarian, etc.)
  • comput* (retrieves computer, computerized, computers, etc.)
  • catalog* (retrieves cataloging, cataloger, catalogue, etc.)
Character masking (wild cards) (find variant spellings) Use character masking (wildcards) when you want to expand a term to include variant spellings or are unsure of the correct spelling for part of a term.

Enter a question mark (?) or a number sign (#) in place of the character(s) you want to mask.You must precede the question mark or number sign by at least three characters.
  • The question mark (?) retrieves variants of 0 or more characters.
    • Example:
      • psych?y (retrieves psychology, psychiatry, psychobiology, etc.)
      • col?r (retrieves color or colour)
      • int?net (retrieves internet or intranet)
  • The number sign (#) retrieves variants of one character.
    • Example: wom#n (retrieves woman and women)

Find singular or plural terms

The system does not automatically search for the singular form of a word when you enter only the plural form or vice versa.

To find both forms of a word using one search, enter both singular and plural forms combined with OR in one text field to retrieve records with either form (e.g., system or systemscatalog or catalogs).