The search engine is not case sensitive. That is, use of capitalization does not affect the results of a search. For example, the following full text searches are considered the same:
caesar and antony or "ancient Rome"
caesar AND antony OR "ancient Rome"
Caesar and Antony or "ancient Rome"
cAEsar and antony or "ancient ROME"
Hyphen. A hyphen (-) used between two words is considered part of the term. When searching for a word or phrase that normally contains a hyphen, include the hyphen:
Ampersand. Ampersands (&) are not recognized by the search engine. Use the W (Within) proximity operator. (See Search Operators below to learn more about proximity operators.)
Tulips W2 Chimneys (means "tulips within two words of chimneys"; instead of Tulips & Chimneys)
Socialism Radicalism W2 Nostalgia (instead of Socialism, Radicalism & Nostalgia)
Gale Primary Sources archives support searching on and display of diacritics--letters that include phonetic markings, e.g., á, ô, ü, etc.--and special characters such as Æ and ø, which often occur in foreign-language terms and names.
Searching on a term that includes a diacritic, such as "Abbé", will return results matching both "Abbé" and "Abbe". Likewise, a search on "Abbe" will return results matching both "Abbe" and "Abbé".
Diacritics can be included in a search term or phrase by either copying and pasting a term containing a diacritic into the search term box, or by typing the diacritic using special combinations of keys on a standard keyboard. A useful document that provides information on using a standard keyboard to produce diacritics and other special characters is available online from Pennsylvania State University.
Truncation (Wildcard) Characters
The * (asterisk) and ? (question mark) and ! (exclamation point) are used to search for words or numbers sharing a similar pattern.
The * and ? and ! replace alphabetical and numerical characters.
The * (standing for any number of characters) is placed at the end of the term’s root. The search retrieves all words sharing the same root. For example, the term faith* retrieves works that contain the words faith, faithful, or faiths.
The ? is used to replace exactly one character within a word to retrieve various forms of that word. For example, the term wom?n retrieves works that contain either woman or women; and psych????y matches either psychology or psychiatry but not psychotherapy.
The ! point stands for one or no characters. For example, analo!! matches analog, analogs, and analogue but not analogous.
A date range is used to search for multiple years in date fields (such as year of publication).
1801-1900 (to search for any year in the nineteenth century)
1920-1929 (to search for any year in the 1920s)
1836-1842 (to search for any year from 1836 through 1842)
Boolean Search Operators
The operators AND, OR, NOT, and proximity operators may be used to refine your search. Whether the operators are typed in uppercase or lowercase does not affect the search. Please note, however, that if an operator appears in a title you are searching for, such as The Road Not Taken, it will still be interpreted as a search operator. This may lead to irrelevant results. If you are searching for a title that contains a search operator, enclose the title in quotation marks.
AND. Use the AND search operator to retrieve documents that contain both of the specified search terms. This operator places no condition on where the terms are found in relation to one another; however, both terms have to appear somewhere in the field you are searching. For example, a full text search for apples AND bananas will find any document that contains mention both of apples and bananas.
OR. Use the OR search operator to retrieve documents that contain one or both specified search terms. This operator places no condition on where the terms are found in relation to one another; however, one or both terms must appear somewhere in the field you are searching. For example, a full text search for apples OR bananas will find documents that mention apples, documents that mention bananas, and documents that mention both types of fruit.
NOT. Use the NOT search operator to retrieve documents that do not contain the specified term. For example, a full text search for apples NOT bananas will find essays that mention apples but not bananas.
PARENTHESES. The operators described above each operate on either simple terms (words or phrases) or a more complex query delimited by parentheses ( ). Parentheses allow you to construct very powerful queries. For example:
"ancient Rome" AND ((caesar or antony AND cleopatra) OR tiberius)
("enlighten*" OR ("philosophy" AND religion)) AND (1751 OR eighteenth century)
Boolean operators are applied in the order in which they appear. Therefore, the following searches are equivalent:
apples AND bananas OR oranges
(apples AND bananas) OR oranges
The proximity operators W (within) and N (next to) may be used to refine your search:
- The W operator will find documents containing the specified words in the specified order within the number of words you indicate. For example, old w4 sea finds documents that contain the word old within four words of the word sea, and old must precede sea.
- The N operator locates documents containing the words you specify within the number of words you specify, but the words can be in any order. For example, apples N4 bananas finds documents that contain the words apples and bananas within four words of each other, regardless of their order (that is, bananas could precede or follow apples).
The length of any given field is not limited to the window you see on the screen. As a search term or terms is keyed, the text will continue to scroll to the left, so that you can see the search expression as it is being keyed.
Because the search engine does not recognize stopwords, search terms must be included in quotes or you can drop the stopword from the title or phrase.
For example, when searching for a title containing the word "to":
Enclose the phrase in quotations marks. The search will work on the exact phrase (example: "Farewell to Arms").
Omit the word "to" from the search (example: A Farewell to Arms would be entered as Farewell Arms).
Stopwords include the following: a, an, and, but, etc, for, from, if, in, into, is, it, its, of, on, or, that, the, to, with.