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2.0 Text searching

You can search Design Online by searching the text of the design journals held in the database.



2.1 Simple Text Searches

On the Design Online home page is a text box that you can type into. Place the mouse in the box and click once. You can now type in a keyword that you would like to search. The Design Online database is not case specific - it will read "Design", "design" and "DESIGN" as the same word. The Design Online database carries out a full text search - there are no specific keywords, you can search for any word contained anywhere within the journals stored in the database. This makes the Design Online database very powerful but it also means you need to be careful in selecting what words to search for.

Searching for general words like 'design' or 'England' will find a large number of articles, perhaps giving you such a general spread of information that many of the articles will not be relevant. When searching for a person, the full name should be entered in the format: firstname surname, e.g. Peter Blake. Consider the words you search by carefully, and if you find that you are still finding too many (or not enough) articles, try an Advanced Search.



2.2 Advanced Text Searches

If you find that searching for a single word doesn't find the information you are looking for, you can refine your search further.

If you do not know the correct spelling of the word you wish to search for, or wish to look for variants of a word, try searching using Wildcard characters.

If you wish to search using more than one word, for example if you wanted to find out about furniture and architecture, or furniture or ergonomics, or furniture but not plastics, then you can combine separate words using Boolean operators (such as AND, OR, NOT).

If you wish to search for two or more words which must be near each other in the text, you can use Proximity operators. This would be useful for example if you wish to find out about 'London Bridge', so you are looking to find instances of these two words when they are next to each other, and are not interested in articles which may incidently mention both the word 'London' and 'bridge'.

If you use a more complex search, for example looking for silver or metal and earings, you need to be aware of the sequence in which the Design Online database processes your search, otherwise you may not get the results you expect. Check 'Precedence of operators' to find out more how the databse processes complex searches - this will help you to search using more than two words.

If you wish to carry out a complex search, using more than two search words at once, you are able to override the normal sequence in which it processes queries by using brackets.



Advanced search help is available on using the following:

Wildcard characters

Operator

What it does

Example

*

represents zero or more characters in a search term.

Table* finds table, tables and tablet

?

represents a single character in a search term.

car? finds card, cars, cart, but not cardboard.

[ ]

used to bracket a choice of characters in a search term.

wom[ae]n finds woman and women.

Boolean operators

Operator

What it does

Example

and

combines two or more search terms with a Boolean and.

London and wood and furniture finds records which contain all three terms.

or

combines two or more search terms with a Boolean or.

London or plastics finds records which include London, plastics or both.

not

combines two or more search terms with a Boolean not.

not London finds records that do not include the word London.

and not

combines two or more search terms with a Boolean and combined with not.

wood and not London finds records with include the word wood but which do not include the word London.

Proximity operators

Operator

What it does

Example

#

retrieves records containing directly adjacent terms in the order they are entered.

silver # earrings finds records which contain the phrase silver earrings.

#n

retrieves records where terms are within n words of each other and in the order they are entered, where n is an integer.

silver #2 earrings finds records which contain the word earrings within 2 words of silver, thus silver earrings and silver clip-on earrings will be found.

##

retrieves records containing directly adjacent terms in any order.

silver ## earrings finds records which contain the phrase silver earrings or earrings silver.

##n

retrieves records where terms are within n words of each other and in any order, where n is an integer

silver ##2 earrings finds records which contain the word earrings within 2 words of silver in any order, thus silver earrings, earrings silver, earrings clip-on silver and silver clip-on earrings will be found.

Precedence of operators

The Design Online database has rules for carrying out searches where the search specification contains more than one operator. Each operator has a precedence which determines the order in which it is processed. The operators with the highest precedence are processed first.

The standard Design Online database operators are listed below in descending order of precedence, together with the field specifier (in) which also has a precedence:

Use of brackets to override precedence

Brackets can be used to override precedence. Any part of a search specification that appears in brackets will be processed first, whatever the precedence of the operators outside the brackets. For example the and operator has a higher precedence than the or operator. Thus if you enter London and wood or furniture, the Design Online database performs the search as (London and wood) or furniture. It splits the search into two parts, searching for London and wood together, then searching for furniture and considering the or operator.

If the search you wish to carry out is London and (wood or furniture), you must bracket your search specification accordingly.