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Additional Search Features

You can improve the relevance of the records returned by your search requests by using the search features explained below.

Using Wildcard Characters

The Search page supports library catalogue wildcard characters (for example, comp*), ranges (for example, 3:15), and term lists. Character patterns are character strings that contain the special characters that represent other characters. The wildcard characters you can use are the asterisk (*), question mark (?) or percent sign (%).

The question mark (?) wildcard stands for exactly one character, the asterisk (*) wildcard stands for an indefinite number of characters, and the percent sign (%) wildcard stands for zero or one character.
For example:

  • Wom?n returns woman or women
  • Snow* returns snowfall, snowman, and snowboard
  • Snow% returns snow and snows, but not snowfall, snowman, or snowboard

Using Quotes

You need to place quotes around search terms only when you wish to perform a search using a term that includes special or reserved characters. For example, you would enclose in quotes terms like "CD-ROM" or "Yippee!" to ensure that the hyphen and exclamation point are included in the results.

Specifying Multiple Terms in a Field

If you want to use multiple terms in your search, you need to use Search Operators to connect the fields. For more information, see Search Operators. If you specify multiple terms in a field separated by spaces, the system interprets the terms as a phrase and searches for the type of phrase indicated by the Search Operator. Phrase searches automatically imply context, so that every term must appear in the same context unit. If you want the system to interpret the terms as individual terms, you must separate the terms with commas (OR) or ampersands (AND). For example, if you wanted to retrieve records with a field that contains both the term "software" or "database" in the title, you must use a comma to separate the terms.

Date Formats

Dates are a unique type of search value because you do not have to enter them in the format in which they are stored in the system, which supports 27 date formats. For example, if you search for September 25, 2000, the system retrieves records that contain 09 SEP 00 or Sep 25, 2000.

Using Ranges

You can specify a range of numbers, character strings, or dates in a search field. Use a colon to separate the starting point and ending point of your range. The standard format conventions for numbers, character strings, and dates still apply. For example, if you specify the range 1:10, the system will search for the numbers 1 and 10 as well as the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and all of the decimal point values in between. For character string ranges, the system searches for the starting and ending character strings and all those that fall in between alphabetically.