Expert Search Help

Use Expert Search to create advanced Boolean searches. Combine fields with terms or phrases any way you want.

  1. First, choose the topic (or topics) you're interested by clicking in the corresponding box(es). Once you select a topic, you will see a checkmark beside it. Read more information about each topic in Database Topics Defined.
  2. You can choose as many topics as you want. You can choose to search all topics at once by clicking in the box at the top of the list next to Select or Deselect All.
  3. If you select a topic then change your mind, simply click in the box again to deselect it. The corresponding checkmark will disappear, meaning that topic is no longer selected.
  4. Next, choose the type of records you want to find from the list of resources in the middle of the page. Again, you may select as many as you wish.
  5. Scroll down to the third step. First choose a field from the Field pull-down list:
    • Keyword: Words placed in the keyword box can be located anywhere in the resulting records. Put words or phrases here when you don't know where in the record they might show up.
    • Date Range: refers the date the article or book was published, the date the video was created, the date the conference was held, etc.
    • Title: refers to article or book titles, court opinion names, conference or conference session titles, titles of courses, titles of organizations
    • Author/Presenter: refers to authors of books or articles, presenters at conferences, presenters of audio or video programs
    • Citation: refers to the citation of the printed version of the article or case
    • Location/Jurisdiction: refers to the location of an organization, location of a conference, location of a class, jurisdiction of a court opinion or piece of legislation
    • Publisher/Producer: refers to the publisher of a book or producer of an audio or video program
    • Notes/Comments: refers to the abstract and other notes that are provided about the resource
    • URL: refers to the URL of the web page where you can find either the resource itself, or find out more about it
  6. Next, choose an operation from the Operation pull-down list:
    • For text-based fields, you can choose:
      • Phrase: use this to designate that the search terms appear as an exact phrase.
      • All Words: use this to designate that all the search terms appear in the field, but not as an exact phrase.
      • Some Words: use this to search for records where some of the terms appear in the field, but not necessarily all of them.
    • For the Date Start and Date Finish fields, use the Operation pull-down box to designate either an exact date or a range of dates.
  7. Next, fill in the Value box with text for text boxes, or the date for date boxes.
  8. Click Add to add that part of the search to the search query. It will show up in the large box below.
  9. You can continue to add more parts to the search. Choose And (results must contain records that match all search phrases), Or (results must contain records that match at least one of the search phrases), or Not (results must contain records that match the first search phrases, limited by the Not operator). You can also nest phrases with parentheses.
  10. Add another search phrase.
  11. Click on Search to retrieve a list of records.
  12. Clear previous search phrases by clicking the Undo button.