Sales & Marketing

Getting the Most out of Your Online Searches

Searching for information online has become second nature for sales and marketing professionals in science. Whether it’s LinkedIn for someone you met at an event, Google Scholar for the latest scholarly literature, PubMed for publications relevant to your field, or the SciLeads lead generation platform for relevant prospects to reach out to.

Searching well, however, is a skill. In this blog we will take you through some Boolean search tips to help you get the most out of your searches across all of these platforms.

As an example we will be using the search term Confocal AND (“light sheet” OR “super resolution”) NOT spectroscopy

Boolean Operators

Operators are used between search terms to connect different keywords. They include AND, OR and NOT and must be capitalized to work effectively.

AND– Keywords must all appear in the text of an activity (publication, grant, etc.) for that activity to be considered a match. For example, Confocal AND “Light Sheet” AND Fluorescence will only show results mentioning all of these keywords.

OR – At least one keyword must appear in the text of an activity for that activity to be considered a match. For example Confocal OR “Light Sheet” will return all activities that include either the term Confocal or the term Light Sheet. The OR search is particularly useful for catching alternative spellings or acronyms for the same term. For example, NGS OR “Next Generation Sequencing”.

NOT – You can use NOT when you do not want the keyword included in an activity. For example, Confocal AND “Light Sheet” NOT Spectroscopy will show only results that mention both Confocal and Light Sheet but not Spectroscopy.

Other Essential Boolean Terms

“Proximity Search”~5 – This lets you find multiple words that appear close together, rather than looking for an exact match. The number defines how many words your keywords must appear within. For example, “ngs library preparation”~5 would trigger a result for a sentence such as ‘NGS library used for preparation of RNA kits’ because the 3 keywords appear within 5 words of each other.

Wildcard “*”– This allows you to search for any keywords that start or end with the same phrase. For example, Neuro* would return results that mention any keywords beginning with Neuro – such as Neuroscience, Neurology, Neuron, etc. This only works if the search term is a single word (not multiple words or hyphenated words such as “light sheet” ).

The wildcard can also be used on its own to search without using keywords. Add * to your search box to search all results that match the filters you have applied from the filter options along the left side of the screen.

Spaces and Hyphens – these are considered the same in a SciLeads search. “Single Cell” and “Single-Cell” will return the same result.

“Quotations” – speech marks must be used if a search term includes a space or a hyphen. For example, “Light Sheet” or “Single-Cell” must be in quotation marks, while the term Confocal does not have to be in quotations (although adding quotations around “Confocal” will still return an accurate result).

Parentheses or Brackets ()– Brackets define the “order of operations” when using multiple keywords and multiple variables. In the search above, an OR statement is preserved by brackets. This can be read as requiring each result to include either “Light Sheet” or “Super resolution” as well as Confocal but not spectroscopy. The brackets ensure the order of operations is accurate.

SciLeads Search Builder

We hope these tips will help you discover better results faster the next time you are running a search. Within the SciLeads platform, we have made it even easier with our search builder. We break out each of the different pieces of Boolean logic where users can enter as many or as little as possible. This works across the multiple data sources in the SciLeads platform including Biopharma company investment, academic publications, tradeshow posters and funding.

To find out more about searching for your perfect prospects in the SciLeads platform, get in touch.