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Search Tips

How to Search

  • Enter search terms in the search box, it will search the metadata and internally in documents for the term you entered.
  • Refine your search by selecting terms in the “Refine Your Selection” section. Or filter your results by searching for an exact term in Collection, Record Type, Date, Topic, Place, Person, or Type fields.
  • When reviewing search results, right-click and open the result in a new tab for easier viewing.
  • If you receive an error message, try refreshing the page.

How to Use Search Operators and Wildcards

Search operators and wildcards can help you create complex searches, refine your results, include variations of search terms, and also exclude non-relevant results. You can use one or more at the same time. Below is a list of operators and wildcards:

  • And: Allows you to combine multiple search terms, to retrieve results that have all the terms (i.e. emerson AND boylston will only retrieve results that have both emerson and boylston).
  • Or: Allows you to search for either one term or another (i.e. tremont Or boylston will only retrieve results that have either tremont or boylston).
  • Not: Allows you to search for one term and not another (i.e. boylston NOT yearbook will only retrieve results that have the term boylston and exclude any that have the term yearbook). This is extremely helpful if you realize you need to refine your search to exclude some results.
  • Quotes (“”): Allows you to search for an exact phrase (i.e. “120 Boylston” will retrieve results that have 120 Boylston).
  • Asterisk (*): Allows you to search for variations of term (i.e. alumn* will retrieve results that include alumni, alumna, or alumnus).
  • Question mark (?): Allows you to search for spelling/number variations (i.e. camer?n will retrieve results for cameron or cameran or camerin).
  • Tilde (~): Allows you to do proximity searches, you can search for a term a specific distance from another term (i.e. “mort berman”~10 will retrieve results that have mort and berman within 10 spaces of each other).
    • You can also use the tilde to do fuzzy searches to retrieve similar terms (i.e. dorm~ will retrieve results for dorm dormitory).

Search Examples

  • “Allen, Steve” AND “Black, Lewis” (This will only retrieve results with the exact terms Allen, Steve and Black, Lewis). Screenshot of search results for "Allen, Steve" AND "Black, Lewis."
  • theat* AND 198? NOT magazine (This will retrieve results that have variations of theat (i.e. theater theatrical) and 198 (i.e. 1980, 1981, 1982, etc.) but no records with magazine ).
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