Help Searching

Field Options

Allows you to choose which fields you want to searchfield_options_1

  • Full text contains (default): Search for terms appearing in any field including the full text of the resource
  • Author contains: Search only in the Author field
  • Title contains: Search only in the Title field
  • Title or Summary contains: Search in both the Title and Summary fields (Does not search full text, author or publisher fields)
  • Publisher contains: Search only in the Publisher field

Collection Options

The collections available to be searched depend on your specific access level. The options below are those available to members of the general public. Additional collection options are available to authenticated users.collection_options_1

  • Public Collection (default): Search all content available to the general public
  • CRS Reports only: Search only Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports
  • GAO Reports only: Search only Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports
  • NPS theses only: Search only Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) theses
  • LLIS docs only: Search only Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) documents

Use Quotes to Search for Exact Phrases

You may use quotation marks around multiple words to search for exact phrases

  • “weapons of mass destruction” will return results where the complete phrase appears
  • without quotes, it will return results where words in the search term appear in any order and not necessarily as a phrase
  • you can also search for multiple exact phrases, “climate change” “global warming”

Refine your Results with Filters

After your initial search, you can refine your search further using the available filters if available: group, publisher, format, language or author.

All of the Words (AND)

  • This search box places the operator AND between each of the entered search termsvenn_and
  • Each of the terms entered in this search box must appear in the selected fields, regardless of order

Example:

  • What you enter: Disaster preparedness
  • What it searches for: Disaster AND Preparedness
  • What you will see in the results: All results will have both terms, as represented by the darkly shaded area

Any of the words (OR)

  • Search box places the operator OR between each of the entered search termsvenn_or
  • At least one of the terms entered in this search box must appear in the selected fields
  • OR means MORE!

Example:

  • What you enter: Disaster preparedness
  • What it searches for: Disaster AND Preparedness
  • What you will see in the results: All results may have just one or both of the terms

Without the words (NOT)

  • This search box places the operator NOT between each of the entered search termsvenn_not
  • This allows you to focus your search by excluding specific terms
  • Terms entered in this search box must not appear in any of the selected fields

Example:

  • What you enter:
    • In ALL OF THE WORDS: Disaster
    • In WITHOUT THE WORDS: Preparedness
  • What it searches for: Disaster NOT Preparedness
  • What you will see in the results: All results will have Disaster, none will have Preparedness

Exact Phrase

  • This search box treats the search terms entered as a complete phrase
  • This allows you to search for resources where the exact phrase appears
  • The set of terms must appear in the selected fields, exactly as you have entered it
  • You can also search for exact phrases in any of the search boxes (Basic, All of/Any of/Without the words) by putting quotes around the phrase or phrases.

Search by Published Date

Date fields work with most date formats, for example all of the following are acceptable:

  • March 29th 2015
  • 03/29/15
  • 2015-03-29
  • March 29, 2015
  • 03/29/2015

The Publish date to and Publish date from search fields allow you to search for resources with a specific date or date range. If no date is specified the Publish date to defaults to the first day of the year or month specified and the Publish date from defaults to the last day of the month or year specified.

Examples:

Publish date from
March 2015
03/2015
2012
January 2015
(blank)
Publish date to
April 2015
04/2015
2015
(blank)
January 2015
Searches for publication date
between March 01, 2015 and April 31, 2015
between March 01, 2015 and April 31, 2015
between January 01, 2012 and December 31, 2015
January 01, 2015 and later
earlier than January 31, 2015

 

Search operators which are NOT ENABLED

The following commonly used search operators have not been implemented to work in the HSDL search

  • + or – to include or exclude terms
  • AND, OR, NOT, and other Boolean search operators

The HSDL Advanced Search Tool allows you to achieve the same results as using these operators.

Stop Words are Omitted

Most articles and prepositions are removed from any search terms you enter in the search box, unless they are part of an exact phrase search

  • Examples of common stop words include: a, an, are, as, at, be, by, for, in, is, it, of, on, or, that, the, this, to, was, will, with, the

Example:

  • What you enter: Terrorism and the Law of War: Trying Terrorists as War Criminals before Military Commissions
  • What it searches for: Terrorism Law War: Trying Terrorists War Criminals before Military Commissions

If any of these stop words are included as part of an exact phrase search (using quotes or the exact phrase search box in advanced search), they are not automatically removed.

  • What you enter: “Terrorism and the Law of War: Trying Terrorists as War Criminals before Military Commissions”
  • What it searches for: “Terrorism and the Law of War: Trying Terrorists as War Criminals before Military Commissions”

Results are ranked by relevance

Results are ranked by their relevance to your search terms, based on:

  • where the words appear in the record (words in the title are ranked higher than words in other fields)
  • proximity to the beginning of the title, subject, author, etc.
  • number of occurrences of the term within the record

Search Uses a Synonyms list

Your search automatically identifies common synonyms as identified by HSDL Staff. This allows you to find terms by their commonly known abbreviations or vice versa.

Examples:

  • Department of Homeland Security = DHS
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency = FEMA
  • Al Qaeda = Al Qaida = Al-Qa’ida = Al-Qa’idah = Al Queda = Al Quaida

When searching an exact phrase synonyms are not applied

Search uses Automatic Stemming

Your search automatically includes plural and singular forms, as well as common suffix and tense variations of your search terms.

  • ready will match records with the term ready or readiness but not read or reading
  • When searching an exact phrase stemming is not applied