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This paper provides a theoretical critique of the deficiencies of full-text searching in academic library databases. Because full-text searching relies on matching words in a search query with words in online resources, it is an inefficient method of finding information in a database. This matching fails to retrieve synonyms, and it also retrieves unwanted homonyms. Numerous other problems also make full-text searching an ineffective information retrieval tool. Academic libraries purchase and subscribe to numerous proprietary databases, many of which rely on full-text searching for access and discovery. An understanding of the weaknesses of full-text searching is needed to evaluate the search and discovery capabilities of academic library databases.