Search Help

Click here for Advanced Search Help

Finding PDFs

Add ".pdf" to your search phrase to find all PDFs

For example: Kennedy AND ".pdf"

Note: If any of the metadata or text of the document contains .PDF, the document, regardless of format, will return in your search results in addition to those documents that are in a PDF format

Phrase Searches

Use quotes to search for a set of words.

For example: “John F. Kennedy”

Boolean Operators

The Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT, must be capitalized, to enhance search results.

The AND operator matches documents where both terms exist anywhere in the text of a single document.

The OR operator is the default conjunction operator. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the OR operator is used.  The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching document if either of the terms exist in a document.

The NOT operator excludes documents that contain the term after NOT.  For example, the following search string will find all documents where Nixon is present and Kennedy is excluded from the results: Nixon NOT Kennedy

Please note: The NOT operator cannot be used with just one term. For example, the following search will produce zero results: NOT Kennedy


Use parentheses to group clauses to form sub-queries.  To search for either “Nixon” or “Ford” and “Kissinger” use the following search string: (Nixon OR Ford) AND Kissinger

This will ensure that either the term Nixon or Ford will exist and the term Kissinger must exist in the search results. 

Wildcard Searches

To perform a single character wildcard search use the “?” symbol. The single character wildcard search returns results that match terms with the single character replaced. For example, to search for text or test use the search te?t.

To perform a multiple character wildcard search use the “*” symbol. The multiple character wildcard search looks for zero or more characters. For example, to search for air, airplane, or airline use the search: air*.

Please Note: You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

Proximity Searches

A proximity search finds words that are within a specific distance away. To perform a proximity search use the tilde, “~”, symbol at the end of a phrase. For example, to search for “Kennedy” and “Nixon” within five or less words of each other use the search: “Kennedy Nixon”~5.

Boosting a Term

Boosting a term increases the relevance level of matching documents based on the terms found. To boost a term use the caret, “^”, symbol with a number at the end of the term. The higher the boost factor, the more relevant the term within the search results.

For example, when searching for Nixon or Ford and Nixon should be more relevant, boost the term Nixon using the following search string: Nixon^10 Ford.

Please note: The boost factor must be a positive number.