Search Tips

How to perform a search:

1. Enter your search terms in the search boxes provided. A search term can be either a word or a phrase. If your search consists of several words or phrases, they must be combined using one or more Connectors. Connectors are the radio buttons between the search boxes:

AND: Both words or phrases connected with AND must appear in the story.

Example: global warming AND ozone

OR: At least one word or phrase connected with OR appears in the story.

Example: toll road OR tollway

NOT: Stories which contain words following NOT will be excluded from your results. The NOT connector should always be placed at the end of your search statement.

Example: lyme NOT disease

See Tips on Searching for more specific instructions on how to construct searches, select terms and use connectors.

2. If you know the headline or title of the story, click on "Headline" in the "IN" select box. Remember that headlines often rely on nicknames, abbreviations and acronyms. People are rarely identified by their full name.

3. If you know the reporter(s) who wrote the story, you can enter their name and click "Author" in the "IN" select box.

4. Select desired options in each of the multiple select boxes described below. Use the arrows at the right-hand side of the boxes to scroll through available options; click on desired option to select it.

SECTION: Specifies the section of the paper in which stories appeared. The default is "All Sections." Remember, big, breaking stories, for example the merger of Wells Fargo and First Interstate, will often have the lead story on the front page of the National section, with additional coverage in the Business section.

5. Click the Search button at the bottom of the screen to submit your search. Clicking Clear resets or clears all the boxes and allows you to enter a new search.

6. Unless there is a problem with your search, a headline list will be returned with stories meeting your search criteria. From this list, you can:

  • View a specific story by clicking on the hyperlinked date.
  • Modify your original search by clicking on the BACK button.
  • Begin a new search by clicking on the "Advanced search" hyperlink near the top of the headline list.

    Tips on Searching:

    Here are some general tips to help you build good searches.

    Searching for Phrases: Phrases or names can be entered with quotation marks. So, "grateful dead" won't find stories with the words grateful and dead unless they are next to each other.

    Wildcard searches: Use an * in the search field to check for alternate spellings. For example: "Wil*" will search for any name beginning with "Wil", such as "Williams," "Wilson" or "Wilkes".

    To Search For a Specific Story: To find a story which you know ran in the paper, simply type a few distinctive terms from the story into the search box, and use the AND connector to combine these terms. Suppose you wanted to find a story by Stephanie Simon which was headlined "Simpson Trial: Deja Vu With a Difference." No need to type in lots of words. The following search will do the trick:

    simon AND deja AND Simpson

    To Research a Topic:

    Selecting Search Terms: Identify the subject you are interested in. Try to narrow it as much as possible. For instance, are you interested generally in the environment? Or are you really trying to find out about global warming and ozone? Or CFCs and ozone? The more specific you can be, the more on target the stories you retrieve will be. Choose search terms which a writer would have been likely to use in a story--avoid jargon and scientific names.

    Narrowing Your Search Results: Searches can retrieve thousands of stories. If this happens to you, try:

  • Selecting a more specific date or section
  • adding additional terms to your search using the AND connector
  • specifying terms to appear in the headline
  • specifying author of articleHere are some tips which only apply in certain circumstances. Refer to them as needed.

    Case: Case is ignored. Terms can be entered in all lowercase, all-uppercase or mixed case.

    Plurals and Possessives: The system automatically searches for the singular, plural and possessive forms of a word. Searching for aerosol will also retrieve stories containing aerosol's or aerosols. Irregular plurals such as child (children), foreign plurals and words ending in -us, -is, -ux or -ix, are not retrieved automatically.

    Punctuation: Periods, hyphens, apostrophes, and ampersands (see next entry) are searchable and can be included in your search statements. Other punctuation marks are ignored and should not be included when searching; if you try to use them, an error message will result. Simply drop the punctuation mark and retain the space. Input/output becomes input output.

    Stopwords: These are very common words (usually prepositions or articles) which have not been included in the index. It's okay to include them in your search as the system will just ignore them. But generally it's more efficient to avoid common terms which don't have any descriptive content. The stopwords are: after, also, an, as, be, because, before, between, by, for, from, ever, if, in, into, of, other, out, since, such, than, that, the, there, these, this, those, under, upon, when, where, whether, which, with, within, without.

    Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun
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