International Council on Archives    Archival Solidarity

How to do Boolean keyword searches

Searches are NOT CASE SENSITIVE. Enter one or more search terms as follows:

  • All search terms must consist of at least three characters (not counting any attached operators).
  • To indicate that all items retrieved MUST CONTAIN A TERM, precede it with an addition operator ( + ).
    Example:   +microfilm
  • To indicate that all items retrieved MUST NOT CONTAIN A TERM, precede it with a subtraction operator ( - ).
    Example:   +microfilm -microfilming
  • To indicate that A TERM IS OPTIONAL (Boolean "or"), do not precede it with any operator.
    Example:   microfilm microfilming
  • A single word without an operator is treated as a required word; thus a search for "microfilm" is the same as a search for "+microfilm".
  • A TERM MAY BE TRUNCATED by appending an asterisk ( * ) to the end of the truncated term.
    Example:   microf*
  • As an exception to the first rule, a term ending with an asterisk must consist of at least one character (not counting the asterisk or any attached operators).
  • To SEARCH FOR A PHRASE, put the phrase in double-quotes.  (You can use "+" and "-" with a phrase, but not "*".)
    Example:   +"archival documents" +canad*

Note: Hyphenated terms are treated as two separate terms.   To search for a hyphenated term, treat it as a phrase.
Example:   "multi-institutional"

 

If search terms are entered in more than one Boolean search field, the search will be performed as an "AND" search on the multiple fields.