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HeinOnline

Searching 101

Whether you are new to HeinOnline or a regular user who needs to brush up on their skills, this LibGuide covers the basics of searching.

Overview

Using Advanced Search Syntax

While Google-type searching will work in HeinOnline, using advanced searching techniques will help formulate more specific searches, refining results before they appear and minimizing the amount of time spent sifting through the results of a query. HeinOnline uses a Lucene/SOLR search platform. We recommend utilizing the search syntax and structure tips presented in this guide to achieve the best possible search results.

Advanced Search Syntax Guide

Boolean Operators

Multiple single terms or phrases can be combined together into the search bar using Boolean operators (AND, +, ORNOT, –) to form a more complex query. These operators must be capitalized to ensure the quantity and quality of search results.

AND (or &&)
When used between two terms, the AND operator generates documents in which both terms exist, either within the text or the metadata. In the example below, every document within the search results will include both the terms china and “child labor” at least once.

china AND "child labor"


+
When used between two terms, the + (or required) operator dictates that the term after the “+” symbol must exist somewhere in a single document. In the example below, every document in the search results must contain the term nuclear and may contain the term energy.

+nuclear energy


NOT (or !)
When used between two terms, the NOT operator will exclude results that contain the term that comes after it. In the example below, documents containing the phrase “presidential impeachment” but not Clinton will appear in the results.

"presidential impeachment" NOT clinton


OR
When used between two terms, the OR operator links the two and finds documents in which either of the two terms exist. In the example below, documents containing either the phrase “right to vote” or the term suffrage will appear in the results.

"right to vote" OR suffrage



When used between two terms, the – (or prohibit) operator excludes documents which contain the term after the “-” symbol. In the example below, every document in the search results must contain the term whistleblower but must not contain the term “Donald Trump”.

whistleblower - "donald trump"


Search Tip: Use parentheses to group clauses and form sub-queries. This can be useful to control Boolean logic for a search query.

For example, to search for either the terms watershed or “water rights” in addition to the term planning, form the search as such: (watershed OR “water rights”) AND planning.

(watershed OR "water rights") AND planning

Range Searches

Range queries match documents whose field(s) values are between the lower and upper boundaries specified by the range query. Range queries can be inclusive or exclusive of the upper and lower boundaries. Sorting is done lexicographically. Inclusive range queries are denoted by square brackets. Exclusive range queries are denoted by curly brackets.

Date

The date search will find documents whose date fields have values between what is specified.

date: [1938 TO 1944]


Title

Range queries are not reserved for date fields. Also use range queries with non-date fields. For example, this search will find all documents whose titles are between Aida and Carmen, but not including Aida and Carmen.

title: {Aida TO Carmen} 

 

Grouping

Grouping Clauses

Use parentheses to group clauses to form sub-queries. This can be useful in controlling Boolean logic for a search query. For example, to search for either “watershed” or “water rights” and “planning” use the search:

(watershed OR “water rights”) AND planning

This ensures that “planning” must exist, and either the term “watershed” OR “water rights” may exist.


Field Grouping

Use parentheses to group multiple clauses to a single field. For example, to search for a title that contains both the word “King” and the phrase “civil rights” use this search:

title: (+ King + “civil rights”)

Wildcard Searches

Wildcard searches provide the ability to modify query terms to allow for a wide range of searching options. This type of search uses a “wildcard” character as a placeholder, which can then be interpreted as various literal characters as the search runs. In HeinOnline, single and multiple-character wildcard searches are supported.

Single-Character Wildcard Search
Use the ? symbol to perform a single-character wildcard search. For example, when entering the term te?t into the search bar, users will receive results that include words like “text” and “test.”

te?t


Multiple-Character Wildcard Search
Use the * symbol to perform a multiple-character wildcard search. For example, when entering the term discriminat* into the search bar, users will receive results that include variations of the word, such as “discriminate,” “discrimination,” and “discriminatory.”

discriminat*

 

Note: Symbols such as * or ? cannot be used as the first character of a search term.

Proximity Searches

A proximity search looks for documents where two or more terms appear within a specified distance. In HeinOnline, there are multiple ways to conduct a proximity search between two or more single terms.

Tilde (~Symbol:
To find multiple-word terms within a certain number of words of each other, which can be in any order in the results, enter the terms in quotation marks and then enter the tilde symbol and your desired number.

In the example below, users will receive results that contain the terms Ubertransportation, and law within 10 words of each other.

"uber transportation"~10

Search Tip: You cannot use other syntax within the " " parameters.


w/#:
To find two single terms within a certain number of words of each other in a document, use w/# between the terms. In the example below, users will receive results that contain the terms Uber and transportation within 10 words of each other.

uber w/10 transportation


w/s:
Use w/s or /s between single terms to find results that contain the terms within approximately the same sentence.

uber w/s transportation


w/p:
Use w/p or /p between single terms to find results that contain the terms within approximately the same paragraph. The syntax defines a paragraph as within 75 words.

uber w/p transportation


w/seg:
Use w/seg or /seg between single terms to find results that contain the terms within approximately the same segment. The syntax defines a segment as within 100 words.

uber w/seg transportation


Search Tip: The w/ function cannot be used with more than two terms.

Fuzzy Searches

Use fuzzy searches, which are based on an “edit distance” algorithm, to search for terms similar in spelling to another term. Like proximity searches, fuzzy searches use the tilde (~) symbol as an operator.

For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to roam use the fuzzy search:

roam~

This search will find terms like foam and roam.


Parameters

A similarity parameter can also be specified. The parameter value is between 0 and 1, and the closer the value is to 1, the higher the similarity will be. The default similarity parameter if not otherwise specified is 0.5.

For example, to search for terms more similar to the word roam than what the default parameter of 0.5 produces:

roam~0.8

Boosting

The relevance level of matching documents based on terms found is built into the HeinOnline search engine. In order to boost a single or phrase term, use the caret symbol (^) with a boost factor at the end of the term.

By default, the boost factor is 1. The higher the boost factor, the more relevant the boosted term. Although the boost factor must be positive, it can be less than 1 (for instance, 0.2).

In the example search below, the term Cherokee is indicated as more relevant than the term tribe.

Cherokee^ tribe


Perform the same boosting technique with phrase terms. In the example search below, “Native American economy” is indicated as more relevant than the term “Cherokee tribe”.

"Native American economy""^4 "cherokee tribe"