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How to Search Online

It's easy to find the information you want!

  1. Type query criteria in one or more boxes or click a Word Wheel button (if present).
    If you type criteria in more than one box, documents must meet all specified criteria.
    Example: Find documents that contain the word "marketing" AND have a file date of 06-13-97.
  2. Click Submit Query.
  3. Records that meet your criteria are displayed as a report. You can reformat the report, jump to documents, and browse.
  4. To go back to the search screen, use the browser's Back button or select a URL from the browser's Address list.

Finding words and phrases

Type the word you want to find (computer) or type a phrase (blue harvest moon) to find those words, in that order. To find variations based on word stems, type an asterisk at the end of one or more words (comput* tech*). Use the symbols & / ! between words or phrases to represent Boolean AND, OR, NOT. Include a space before and after the symbol. Use w# (within) and p# (preceding) to find words near each other. See examples below.

Type this… To find…
sales meeting those words, in that order
sales / marketing either word (or both)
sales & marketing only documents that contain both words (documents that contain just one of the words will be ignored)
health policy ! medical benefit* “health policy” but not “medical benefits”
sales p5 market* “sales” preceding “marketing” by 5 words or fewer. You can include an asterisk at the end of either word. Do not string together phrases (clinton w5 white house).
sales w5 marketing “sales” within 5 words of “marketing” (before or after). Do not include phrases.

NOTE: Words joined by & / ! are evaluated in left-to-right order: red & white / blue finds items that are red and white, or items that are blue. Use parentheses to control evaluation order: red & (white / blue) finds items that are red and white or red and blue.

Finding a Particular Date

To find a particular date, use any reasonable format, such as: Dec 97, 1997 Dec, 12-97, December 1997, 31-Dec-97. If you type just a year and month (May 1997), you'll find all dates in that month. If you type just a year (1997), you'll find all dates in that year.

Recommended: Do not use a forward slash to separate date elements unless you surround the date with quotation marks ("12/31/97").

You can use the symbols & / ! between dates to do AND-OR-NOT searches. For example, May 1997 / June 1997 finds all dates in May or June 1997.

You can do less than, greater than, and range searches for dates (see below).

Doing less than, greater than, and "between" searches

You can search for items greater than or less than a certain value, or within a range. This is most commonly done when searching for dates, but may also be done when searching for values or text. Use the symbols shown below. When used with a partial date, these symbols search from the beginning of the date (first day of the month or year). Note that a range consists of two values, low and high, separated by a colon. Include spaces around the colon.

Symbol Meaning Example
< less than (before) < 1997 finds dates before January 1, 1997
<= less than or equal to <= 6-15-97 finds dates on or before June 15, 1997
> greater than (after) > 1997 finds dates after December 31, 1996
>= greater than or equal to >= 500 finds values greater than or equal to 500
: between 1996 : 1997 finds dates from Jan. 1, 1996 through Dec. 31, 1997 (inclusive)
200 : 300 finds values in that range (inclusive)

Using a Word Wheel

If a search screen includes a Word Wheel button, click it to select words from a list. This opens a dialog that shows words you can search for. For example, if you click the Word Wheel button next to a box labeled "File date", you see a list of dates. By pasting an item such as "1997-Jan-15" into a box, you can search for it. This eliminates trial-and-error searching and produces more accurate results. For more information, click the Help button in the Word Wheel dialog.

The Word Wheel is a Java applet. To use it, you need a browser that supports Java and JavaScript, such as version 3.0 or later of Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Using the AND-OR-NOT Droplist

If a search screen includes an AND-OR-NOT droplist in front of each box, you can do more sophisticated searches. The Boolean operator selected for a box determines how the search criteria in that box will be combined with criteria already evaluated. Boxes are evaluated from top to bottom (first box to last).

Finding a term (exact, complete match)

A term is a complete item, with no additional text before or after. To search for a term, precede it with an equal sign (=). For example, =john smith finds only that complete term (does not find just "john” or just "smith" or that phrase embedded in other text).

Case and Punctuation

Case in query criteria is generally ignored (a search for joe smith finds Joe Smith). Punctuation is also ignored, except for the and-or-not symbols (& / !) and the colon for range searches ( : ). If you want these characters to be interpreted literally, use quotation marks ("Smith & Wesson") or replace the punctuation with a space (Smith Wesson).

NOTE: When searching for a URL or file name, case matters (a search for www.Inmagic.com will not find www.inmagic.com). Punctuation matters when doing a term search (=http://www.inmagic.com) for a URL or file name.

Reset Button

To clear query criteria from the form, click the Reset button at the bottom of the page.

Submit Query Button

To start your search, click the Submit Query button at the bottom of the page.

Displaying Records After a Search

A successful search finds one or more records, which are displayed in your Web browser as a report. Use the browser controls as you normally would to view and print HTML pages. Use the procedures described below to perform special operations.

  • Change the appearance - Scroll to the top of the page, open the droplist, select a form, and click the Change Form button.
  • Jump to the original document - Click a hypertext link which provides a shortcut to the original document.
  • See more information about one record at a time - Some reports include a hypertext link that displays detailed information about one record at a time. This link may be labeled "More" or "More Info." Clicking on this link "expands" the record to show more information.
  • Display additional pages - Click the Next and Previous buttons at the top of the report to display additional records found by the search.
  • Return to the search screen - Click the browser’s Back button or choose the appropriate URL from the browser’s Address list.

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Revised: 03/19/04