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FindIt@Bham: More search tips and tricks

FindIt@Bham online help

More search tips

How Can I Do More with the Search Panel?

Searching for a Phrase

To search for a phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase. You can combine both words and phrases in your search.

If you do not enclose the phrase with quotation marks, the system will find items that contain the individual words in the phrase, regardless of whether these words are located next to each other in the order specified.

Searching for Any Specified Words or Phrases

You can search for items that contain at least one of the words or phrases you type in the Search box. To do so, type OR between the words or phrases.

If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, FindIt@Bham assumes that you are searching for all the specified words or phrases.

For example, to search for items with the word Irish or the word Celtic, type the following in the search box:

To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) within search phrases, you must enter them in uppercase letters. Otherwise, FindIt@Bham removes them and performs a simple search that includes all search phrases.

What is Boolean searching?

Boolean searches are carried out using terms like AND, OR, NOT, BETWEEN and WITHIN. These “operators” specify what words the results of your search should or should not contain, and how close your search terms should be to each other. 

Why use Boolean search?

Use Boolean searches if:

  • You want your results to be more precise. Boolean searches will find exact matches only.
  • You want to find a specific document, and are not interested in related publications.

AND
The AND operator retrieves entries that contain all the search terms entered. This normally retrieves fewer results than searching for a term on its own. You can also use the symbol & instead of the word AND.

If you wish to search for the word “and” in a phrase and do not want it to be a Boolean operator, enclose the phrase in double quotation marks. For example, “crime and drugs” will find the whole phrase “crime and drugs”.

OR
The OR operator returns all entries containing one or more of the search terms entered. This also retrieves more entries than searching for a term on its own. You can also use the Symbol | instead of the word OR.

If you wish to search for the word “or” in a phrase, and do not want it to be a Boolean operator, enclose the phrase in double quotation marks. For example “army or navy” will find the whole phrase “army or navy”.

NOT
The NOT operator retrieves all entries that contain the first term entered but not the second. You can also use the symbol ^ instead of the word NOT.

If you wish to search for the word “not” in a phrase, and do not want it to be a Boolean operator, enclose the phrase in double quotation marks. For example: “defence not ministry” will find the whole phrase “defence not ministry”.

Excluding Words or Phrases

You can exclude items that contain specific words or phrases. To do so, type NOT and then type the word or phrase to exclude.

If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, FindIt@Bham assumes that you are searching for all the specified words or phrases.

For example, to search for items with the word Celtic and exclude any of these items with the word Irish, type the following in the search box:

Searching Using Wildcard Characters

You can include the following wildcard characters in your searches:

?—enter a question mark to perform a single character wildcard search. For example, type wom?n to search for records that contain the strings woman, women, and so forth.

*—enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, type cultur* to search for records that contain strings, such as culture, cultural, and culturally.

The system ignores wildcard characters placed at the beginning of search terms. For example, the system treats the search terms ?aying and *aying as if you had searched for aying.


Grouping Terms Within a Query

You can use parentheses to group terms within a query. For example, to search for Shakespeare and either tragedy or sonnet, type the following in the search box: Shakespeare (tragedy OR sonnet)
 

Selecting Your Search Scope

The search scope defines where the system should perform the search. A default search scope is selected allowing you to search 'Everything.' However, you can change the scope of your search by selecting a search scope from the drop-down list.

 

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