- Category Searches
- Natural language searching
- Exact Word Searches
- Proper Name Searches
- “ “ Exact Phrase Searches
- ”AND” search
- “NOT” search
- “OR” search
- “EOR” or “XOR” search
- ( ) Bracketed expressions
- Wildcard Searches
In general, the quality of your search results will improve if you can use additional, more specific words to search for - so that searching for climate change will return much more general results than searching for emissions trading climate change, say.
But you can use the Advanced Search function to choose from a number of additional options for making your searches more precise, and therefore deliver more useful results.
With Advanced Search you can search for pages:
that contain ALL the search terms you type in
that contain the exact phrase you type in
that contain at least one of the words you type in
that do NOT contain any of the words you type in
created in a certain file format
that have been updated within a certain period of time
that contain numbers within a certain range
from within a certain category
Advanced searches can be carried which allow you to restrict the category of your search. The category areas are displayed in a dropdown on the ‘Advanced search’ page. You can restrict searches to specific
Important note: once a search has been performed, further searches will also search only in the specified category area unless the user changes this restriction on the ‘Advanced search’ page.
Search can take a piece of text of any length (a single word, a sentence, a paragraph or an entire document) and use it to find conceptually similar documents. Documents are returned in order of conceptual relevance to the query text.
A single word can be typed in and the Search will find all instances of that word. It is worth noting that words that have the same beginning as that of the search word will be found.
For example, if the word ‘Publications’ is searched for, not only will instances of ‘Publications’ be found, but also ‘Public’.
Every search query is analysed for pairs of words starting with capital letters. If two words adjacent to each other each start with capital letters, those words are treated as a proper name.
For example, in the sentence ‘John Doe was seen acting suspiciously’, the words ‘John’ and ‘Doe’ are treated as a proper name because they are capitalised words which appear side by side.
You can search for exact phrases rather than conceptual matches by putting quotation marks ("your search") around a string of words.
For example, the search “housing benefit fraud” would match only documents which contained exactly that those words in that order with no other words in between.
Inserting AND between two words ensures that both are matched in every document that is returned.
cat AND dog
This query only returns documents that contain both ‘cat’ and ‘dog’.
Inserting NOT into the search ensures that the word following NOT is excluded from any of the returned documents.
cat NOT dog
This query only returns documents that contain ‘cat’ but not ‘dog’.
Important note: The NOT search will only return results for less common words. For example, too many files contain “Defra”, and so defra NOT newcastle will return zero results (in reality, there would be many, but the search is looking for something more specific).
The NOT search is for finding less common words. In this instance, newcastle NOT defra would be more successful.
Use OR between two words to find pages that include either of two search terms
cat OR dog
This query only returns documents that contain either ‘cat’, ‘dog’ or both words.
EOR and XOR each provide a logical exclusive OR. Only one of the words is permitted to appear for the document to be returned.
cat XOR dog
This query only returns documents that contain either the word ‘cat’ or the word ‘dog’. Documents that contain both ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ are not returned.
Bracketed expressions dictate the precedence and behaviour of combined operator statements.
(fish EOR pie) AND (chips EOR mash)
This query only returns documents that contain one of the following:
""fish"" and ""chips""
""fish"" and ""mash""
""pie"" and ""chips""
""pie"" and ""mash""
Returns documents in which the first word precedes the second one.
cat BEFORE dog
This query returns documents in which the word ‘dog’ appears later than the word ’cat’.
Returns documents in which the first word appears later than the second one.
cat AFTER dog
This query returns documents in which the word ‘cat’ appears later than the word ‘dog’.
You can use the following wildcards in query text. You should use wildcard matching sparingly as it will slow down the Search performance.
? – to match one character
* - to match zero, one or more characters
The query above returns documents that contain any words that begin ‘rollersk’, for example, ‘rollerskating’, ‘rollerskater’, ‘rollerskate’, and ‘rollerskates’.
This query returns documents that contain the word ""Mikrotech"" or ""Microtech"":
Page last modified:
12 June 2006
Page published: 12 June 2006