About the Search and the Results
↑ First things first: the HSDL search box is right above this text at the top of the page. ↑
The HSDL indexes the full text of each resource in the collection. The default HSDL search is to return results where the complete “full-text contains” your keywords in any part of the text. However, unless you are searching for something quite specific, we recommend a search where “title or summary [abstract] contains” your words. This will likely give you a shorter, more manageable result.
As you are searching:
- You may use quotation marks around multiple words to search for exact phrases (e.g., “countering violent extremism”; “climate change”; “school shootings”).
- Add to your search by selecting a Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT) and entering more search terms.
- Use the search operators + or – to include or exclude terms have not been implemented to work in the HSDL search.
The Advanced Search allows you to achieve the same results as using these techniques and operators. It also allows you to add date ranges and limit your search to items in specific special collections (e.g., Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports).
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. (e.g., 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 for an exact phrase, synonyms are not applied.
After you have searched:
- Results are ranked by their relevance to your search terms. Relevancy is based on 1) where the words appear in the record (words in the title are ranked higher than words in other fields); 2) their proximity to the beginning of the title, subject, author, etc.; and 3) the number of occurrences of the term within the record. If you are seeking the newest materials, you can change the sort order from relevance to date (descending).
- After your initial search, you can refine your search further using numerous filters. You can add another keyword (found within the full-text), and/or you can specify particular resource groups, subject(s), publisher(s), author(s), series, format type(s), or country/countries.