- A minimum of two characters is required to start a valid search, and you cannot use an asterisk as one of the two characters. Some common two-letter words have been restricted (e.g., an, as, at, in, it, of, on, or, so, to); they cannot be used by themselves as a two-character search string.
- The asterisk (*) can be used as a wild card in place of a single letter or for any contiguous letters (e.g., *hower will return results for Danenhower and Eisenhower).
- Searching two non-phrase words: First, the system searches for documents with both words and prioritizes those search results. Next, the system finds the words individually, even when separated on the page, and those pages are included in the search results.
- Searching for a phrase: Use quotes around the phrase to ensure that the words are treated as a text unit. To search for John Paul Jones, for example, add quotes around the entire name, “John Paul Jones” to yield the best results.
- Special characters: Some special characters return poor search results. Searching for UA.53.03.01 will return 21 results, but 20 of them are errors caused by the periods. By using quotes and searching for “UA.53.03.01” the search engine will return 1 result, which is the correct result.
- A minus sign (-) eliminates words from the search results (e.g., searching Eisenhower -president) will eliminate pages about Eisenhower with the word “president” in them. (Note: Do not add a space between the minus sign and the word to be eliminated from the search. Also, quotation marks are not required.)
- When searching for a hyphenated term or phrase (e.g., “A-3”), enclose the search content in quotation marks for better results. Otherwise, the system will search for each component of the hyphenated content and return futile results.
- The plus sign (+) can be used in search terms to add required words that must be in a document to be returned as a result (e.g., searching Eisenhower +president will ensure the word “president” is in all the pages that are returned as results.
Filter and Refine Results of the Initial Search
If an initial search returns too many results, fine-tune it by clicking the “More Options” link next to the search box. Select filters from the following two drop-down lists: Document Type and Online Format (as noted above, more filters will be available soon). Apply selected filters by clicking Search.
Document Type: More than one Document Type can be selected, but if the search is for a particular Document Type, it’s best to select just that one because of the way the system prioritizes the search results. Sometimes the best approach is to filter out Document Types that are not relevant to the search results. To do this, check Select All, and then deselect the Document Types to be filtered out of the search results.
Example of selecting one Document Type: If an initial search term is Eisenhower, 330 results are returned. For only a ship history, select the Document Type “Ship History” and click Search. The number of returned results is reduced to 87. The top result is the ship history for the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, because Eisenhower is in the webpage title, and the document is a ship history. The other 86 results are returned because the name of the former president is mentioned either in reference to him or to his namesake ship.
Example of choosing Select All Document Types and deselecting one or more: In this example, the searcher is looking only for documents related to the initial search Eisenhower and not images. In the Document Type drop-down list, check Select All, then deselect Document Types related to images, such as “Art,” “Map,” and “Photograph.” This search returns 109 results out of the 330 results in the initial search. These results can be even more fine-tuned as more search filters become available.
Online Format: It is not necessary to make a selection from the Online Format drop-down list unless a specific file format is being searched, such as a PDF or a TIFF. If nothing is selected, the default search is for HTML pages.