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Most databases will now automatically truncate words and check for variant spellings of a word.
You can add the truncation asterisk/symbol ( * ) to the root of a word and in doing so instruct the database to extrapolate all the possible endings--thereby saving you the time of entering them all in yourself. Be careful of cutting the word too short as this might open the search up to irrelevant search results.
The wildcard symbol (usually a "#" or "?") can be substituted in place of individual character/s in a term. This can be useful if you are not sure of the correct spelling of a word. However, it is mostly used to produce multiple forms of a term without having to enter that term multiple times,
Example: wom?n retrieves woman or women