Advanced Search Help
To search, enter a search request in the space provided and
click the Search button. A list of matching documents
will appear. To view a document in the list, click on the link. After you have opened a document, you can use the Next Hit
and Prev Hit buttons on the button bar to navigate
from hit to hit. (For PDF files, use the hit navigation buttons
in the Adobe Reader toolbar. Click here for more information.)
Search Requests Overview
There are two types of search requests:
An any words search is any sequence of text,
like a sentence or a question. In an any words search,
use quotation marks around phrases, put + in front of any word or
phrase that is required, and - in front of a word or phrase to
exclude it. Examples:
banana pear "apple pie"
"apple pie" -salad +"ice cream"
An all words search is like an any words
search, except that all of the terms have to be found in a
A boolean search request consists of a group of
phrases linked by connectors such as and
that indicate the relationship between them. Examples:
Both words must be present
Either word can be present
Apple must occur within 5 words of pear
apple not w/5
Apple must not occur within 5 words of pear
apple and not
Only apple must be present
The field author must contain smith
If you use more than one connector, you should use parentheses
to indicate precisely what you want to search for. For example,
apple and pear or orange juice could mean (apple and
pear) or orange, or it could mean apple and (pear or
Finds grammatical variations on endings, like applies,
applied, applying in a search for apply
Finds words even if they are misspelled. A search for
alphabet with a fuzziness of 1 would also find alphaqet. With a fuzziness of 4, the same search
would find both alphaqet and alpkaqet
Search terms may include the following special characters:
any single character. Example: appl? matches
apply or apple.
any number of characters. Example: appl* matches
Example: apply~ matches apply, applies,
search. Example: ba%nana matches banana,
range. Example: 12~~24 matches 18.
Variable term weighting. Example: apple:4 w/5
Words and Phrases
Use quotation marks to indicate a phrase. You can use a
phrase anywhere in a search request. Example:
apple w/5 "fruit salad"
If a phrase contains a noise word, the noise word will be
omitted when searching for the phrase. For example, a search for
statue of liberty would retrieve any document containing
the word statue, any intervening word, and the word
Punctuation inside of a search word is treated as a space.
Thus, can't would be treated as a phrase consisting of two
words: can and t. 1843(c)(8)(ii) would
become 1843 c 8 ii (four words).
Noise words, such as if and the, are ignored in
Wildcards (* and ?)
A search word can contain the wildcard characters * and
?. A ? in a word matches any single character, and
a * matches any number of characters. The wildcard
characters can be in any position in a word. For example:
appl* would match apple, application, etc.
*cipl* would match principle, participle, etc.
appl? would match apply and apple but not
ap*ed would match applied, approved, etc.
Use of the * wildcard character near the beginning of a
word will slow searches somewhat.
Fuzzy searching will find a word even if it is misspelled. For
example, a fuzzy search for apple will find appple.
Fuzzy searching can be useful when you are searching text that
may contain typographical errors, or for text that has been
scanned using optical character recognition (OCR). There are two
ways to add fuzziness to searches:
- Check the "Fuzzy searching" box to enable fuzziness for all
of the words in your search request. You can adjust the level of
fuzziness from 1 to 10.
- You can also add fuzziness selectively using the % character.
The number of % characters you add determines the number of
differences dtSearch will ignore when searching for a word. The
position of the % characters determines how many letters at the
start of the word have to match exactly. Examples:
- ba%nana Word must begin with ba and have at most one
difference between it and banana.
- b%%anana Word must begin with b and have at most two
differences between it and banana.
Stemming extends a search to cover grammatical variations on a
word. For example, a search for fish would also find
fishing. A search for applied would also find
applying, applies, and apply. There are two
ways to add stemming to your searches:
- Check the Stemming box in the search form to enable
stemming for all of the words in your search request. Stemming
does not slow searches noticeably and is almost always helpful in
making sure you find what you want.
- If you want to add stemming selectively, add a ~ at the end
of words that you want stemmed in a search. Example:
When search results are sortedafter a search, by default all
words in a request count equally in counting hits. However, you
can change this by specifying the relative weights for each term
in your search request, like this:
apple:5 and pear:1
This request would retrieve the same documents as apple and
pear except apple is weighted five times as heavily as pear when
sorting the results.
In a natural language search, terms are weighted based on an
analysis of their distribution in your documents. If you provide
specific term weights in a natural language search, these weights
will override the default weights.
Use the AND connector in a search request to connect two
expressions, both of which must be found in any document
retrieved. For example:
apple pie and poached pearwould retrieve any
document that contained both phrases.
(apple or banana) and (pear w/5 grape)would retrieve
any document that (1) contained either apple OR
banana, AND (2) contained pear within 5 words of
Use the OR connector in a search request to connect two
expressions, at least one of which must be found in any document
retrieved. For example, apple pie or poached pear would
retrieve any document that contained apple pie, poached
pear, or both.
Use the W/N connector in a search request to specify that one
word or phrase must occur within N words of the other. For
example, apple w/5 pear would retrieve any document that
contained apple within 5 words of pear. The
following are examples of search requests using W/N:
(apple or pear) w/5 banana
(apple w/5 banana) w/10 pear
(apple and banana) w/10 pear
Some types of complex expressions using the W/N connector will
produce ambiguous results and should not be used. The following
are examples of ambiguous search requests:
(apple and banana) w/10 (pear and grape)
(apple w/10 banana) w/10 (pear and grape)
In general, at least one of the two expressions connected by
W/N must be a single word or phrase or a group of words and
phrases connected by OR. Example:
(apple and banana) w/10 (pear or grape)
(apple and banana) w/10 orange tree
dtSearchuses two built in search words to mark the beginning
and end of a file: xfirstword and xlastword. The
terms are useful if you want to limit a search to the beginning
or end of a file. For example, apple w/10 xlastword would
search for apple within 10 words of the end of a document.
NOT and NOT W/N
Use NOT in front of any search expression to reverse its
meaning. This allows you to exclude documents from a search.
apple sauce and not pear
NOT standing alone can be the start of a search request. For
example, not pear would retrieve all documents that did
not contain pear.
If NOT is not the first connector in a request, you need to
use either AND or OR with NOT:
apple or not pear
not (apple w/5 pear)
The NOT W/ ("not within") operator allows you to search for a
word or phrase not in association with another word or phrase.
apple not w/20 pear
Unlike the W/ operator, NOT W/ is not symmetrical. That is,
apple not w/20 pear is not the same as pear not w/20
apple. In the apple not w/20 pear request, dtSearch
searches for apple and excludes cases where apple
is too close to pear. In the pear not w/20 apple
request, dtSearch searches for pear and excludes cases
where pear is too close to apple.
Numeric Range Searching
A numeric range search is a search for any numbers that fall
within a range. To add a numeric range component to a search
request, enter the upper and lower bounds of the search separated
by ~~ like this:
apple w/5 12~~17
This request would find any document containing apple
within 5 words of a number between 12 and 17.
Numeric range searches only work with positive integers. A
numeric range search includes the upper and lower bounds (so
12 and 17 would be retrieved in the above example).
For purposes of numeric range searching, decimal points and
commas are treated as spaces and minus signs are ignored. For
example, -123,456.78 would be interpreted as: 123 456
78 (three numbers). Using alphabet customization, the
interpretation of punctuation characters can be changed. For
example, if you change the comma and period from space to
ignore, then 123,456.78 would be interpreted as