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Search Terms

Search terms including Boolean expressions

This dialogue box accepts standard words, like smallpox, for searching on. A search term can also be a quoted phrase. Boolean expressions are supported, where the operators AND and OR can be used for limiting or expanding searches. A right-stem wildcard character is allowed for words, too.


Find pages containing the word smallpox:
Find pages which have words starting with small:
Find pages containing the words smallpox and Essex:
smallpox Essex
Find pages containing the word Essex and at least one of the words births or deaths:
Essex AND (births OR deaths)
Find pages containing the sequence of words "East India Company" and the word Persia:
"East India Company" and Persia

The only characters allowed in a standard word are letters, digits, the underscore character ("_") and the single apostrophe ("'").

Searches using the operator AND are usually not necessary because using the expression small AND pox will be identical to the search terms small pox (without quotation marks).

Search terms which contain parentheses, for example Essex AND (births OR deaths) are interpreted differently from the terms that do not, for example Essex AND births OR deaths. The former search term will return pages in which the word Essex and at least one of the words births or deaths appear, while the latter search term will return pages in which the both the words Essex and births or the word deaths appear.

Quoted phrases are supported, too. The parser extracts all the standard words specified in the quoted phrase and then attempts to find all instances containing the exact sequence of words. White spaces and special characters not belonging to words are ignored for quoted phrases.

Explanatory remarks:

Each search is a carried out over a wide range of document types which means that the basic result is a single page of information, usually a page of a published census or registrar general's report. However, the whole of an essay or an act of parliament (Legislation) will be returned if a search term is found within it.