As we develop our platforms, the range of options listed here is subject to change. We will update this page as developments happen, and please note that some of these options may not be available in older interfaces. For more information on our scheduled updates, visit the Product Enhancements home page.

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The first search that you come to on the Gale platforms allows you to perform a broad search across the Entire Document (aka Full Text), Document Title, Subject, and expands to synonyms of your search term. It is the same thing as “Keyword” search in Advanced Search. It does not look at the Author field.



While some Gale Primary Sources archives may have unique Advanced Search options, there are many that are common across archives, including those listed below. While every option on this list may not be available in the archive you use, many of them should be.

With the Advanced Search, accessible via the top navigation bar from all views, you can conduct a search using a variety of criteria. This enables you to retrieve very specific results. You can search on a word or words occurring within the full text and the key fields of documents, as well as limit your search on the values of several fields of information. Below are descriptions of the types of searches you may conduct and the search limiters you may employ.

You may enter up to ten rows in advanced searches and use each to query a different or the same search index, using Boolean search operators of AND, OR, or NOT to combine search indexes. After entering your search term(s), select the index you wish to search through by choosing from the index type drop-down menu to the right of the search term box. Search terms/phrases entered cannot exceed one hundred characters.


Performs a broad search across the Entire Document (aka Full Text), Document Title, Subject, and expands to synonyms of your search term.

Document Title

Searches for any word or words in the main title metadata field only.

Publication Title

Limits your search to a specific newspaper or periodical title. This limiter does not apply to monograph titles.

Place of Publication

Searches for any word or words within the place of publication field only of works within the database.


Searches for tagged subject terms.


Searches for any word or words contained within the author metadata fields only, which include author name/authoring institution name.

Entire Document

Searches for any word or words within the full text of a work as well. For each work returned, relevant pages containing your search term or phrase are listed in the left navigation bar within the page image full view; search terms are highlighted on the page image of each relevant page. This is a good search to use if you are looking for a particular line of text or an unusual phrase.

Manuscript Number

Searches for the number, reference, or shelfmark assigned to an archival document by the source library.

Gale Document Number

Limits your search to a work or page based on the number assigned by Gale to that document in the database, which appears at the bottom of each document display.

Front Matter

Searches for any word or words within the front matter only of works within the database, including tables of contents, prefaces, forewords, and other preliminary material.

Bibliographic ID

Searches for the document associated with a specific bibliographic record ID, such as a shelfmark or catalogue record number associated with a printed work.



Gale Primary Sources archives also offer a range of limiters to help refine search results. As with the Advanced Search options, the limiters depend on the archive you are using, but some commonly available ones include:


Publication Date

Limits your search to a date or a range of dates when a document was published or created. If you only want to search by year, you do not need to enter a month or day.

Some primary source documents are undated because the publication date is undiscernable. You may include these in your search by selecting "Include documents with no known publication date".


Content Type

Limits your search to select content type(s). Content Types are broad groupings of document types. The main content types in Gale Primary Sources are:

  • Manuscripts: Typically refers to the folder-level of an archival collection. This may include a variety of document types.
  • Monographs: Refers to a published book, pamphlet, or broadside.
  • Newspapers & Periodicals: Refers to an article from a serial publication.


If you want to search for more specific types of content, try the Document Type limiter.

Document Type

Limits your search by descriptors that indicate the format, genre, or other characteristics of a document. Use of this limiter helps you narrow your search based on these document characteristics.

Publication Title

Limits your search to a specific newspaper or periodical title. This limiter does not apply to monograph titles.

Publication Section

Limits your search to a specific section of a newspaper or periodical.

Publication Country

Limits your search by the country where a newspaper or periodical title was published. This limiter does not apply to monograph titles.


Limits your search to documents that are in part or wholly written in the selected language(s).

Illustrated Works

Limits your search to documents that contain specific illustration types.

Source Library

Limits your search by the institution where a document was sourced. Typically, this is also where the original version of a document is located.


Searching Gale Primary Sources: FAQ

What does a full-text search cover?

A full-text search looks at the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) from every page of the document.

Is the text on maps or other illustrations searchable?

For the most part no; however, if the text is large enough it may be picked up by the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process.  All text on the page is run through the OCR process and will be searchable.  If the word is in a graphic, like a map, and can be picked up by the OCR engine, then it is searchable. As technology improves, so do the results, so newer archives may yield better results for these types of document.

Why might search results show the wrong word?

Many times this has happened due to an error in the Optical Character Recognition process, where one word was read as another. For example, if there was a poor original image, broken type or fading ink, a word such as "king" can be misread as 'kind". Fuzzy search will also increase the range of acceptable words for any given search: to minimize problems set your fuzzy search to "Low".

Why do search results appear at times with no search term highlighted?

There can be several causes for this. First check to see if you executed a "Keyword Search': this type of search includes the metadata for the article as well as the printed content. Secondly, make sure that you have checked all the pages in the article. Alternatively, check that you are not using "Entire Document", as that only looks at the OCR.

I cannot find something I am certain is in the database: why?

Try spelling variations for the terms that you are searching for. For people, realize that they may not have been referred to with the title that we commonly associate with them today, so try different variations on the name. Also take into account historical names that have changed over time, in particular countries, where searching two names with an ‘or’ operator can help improve the results: for example, search ‘Ceylon’ or ‘Sri Lanka’ to get results that contain one or the other.