Online Search Tips

Following is a list of the PLWeb search operators and brief descriptions of how they will help you build a search.

Boolean AND logic operator. Searches for records containing both of the words it separates.
Boolean OR logic operator. Searches for records containing either of the words it separates.
Boolean NOT logic operator. Searches for records containing the query word preceding it without containing the word following it.
NEAR operator. Functions as bi-directional proximity operator if word range (e.g. deficit near/3 spending) is specified. If no word range is specified, functions as bi-directional adjacency operator.
Adjacency operator. Searches for records in which the query word that follows it appears immediately after the word preceding it.
Proximity operator. Searches for word pairs in which the pair's second term occurs within a specified number of words after the first. Example: amphibian W/5 DNA finds records in which DNA occurs withinfive words after amphibian.
Wildcard operator for a single character; matches any one character.
Wildcard operator for strings; matches any string. Examples: micro* matches microscope, microcomputer; *late matches relate, translate.
Stemming operator; forces a word stem (if search stemming is off). Example: run+ finds run, runs, and running.
Exact match operator; forces an exact word match (if search stemming is on). Example: run# finds run, but not runs or running.
Thesaurus operator; replaces the word before the operator with its synonyms from the thesaurus. Example: satellite@ is replaced by synonyms listed for satellite in the thesaurus.
Concept operator; automatically generates a list of words related to the word before the operator; searches for, retrieves, and ranks all records containing those related words; hit words are highlighted.

Field-Restricted Searches

Field restriction operator for a single word in the query; specifiesthat the word before the colon is to be searched only against field. Example: smith:author specifies that the author field is to be searched for the query word smith.
field1, field2...Field restriction operator for the entire query; specifies that the entire query is to be searched against fields. Example: kirk douglas/F:text, author, title specifies that kirk and/or douglas need to be in either the text, author, or the title field for the record to be retrieved.
Numeric match operator; specifies that field must exactly match num, where num is a non-negative number. Example: year=1982 requires the contents of the year field to contain 1982.

Africans in America: Home | Resource Bank Index | Search | Shop

WGBH | PBS Online | ©