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Navigating Archives Topic Guide

Guide to finding and using archives beyond Emory.

Quick Tricks

ArchiveGrid: Top Tips

You can do searches for indexed categories in archive grid. For example, the search ("mark twain" OR "samuel clemens") NOT location:virginia will find finding aids that include the phrase Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens, and where the archival institution is not in Virginia. 

Useful searches include: title: archive: location: person: group: topic: place: event:

For a more extensive list of search tricks, go to:  SearchHelp

WorldCat FirstSearch: Top 8


AND retrieves only records that contain all search terms. Use this operator to narrow or limit a search. 

OR retrieves all records that contain one or both of the search terms. Use this operator to expand a search. 

NOT eliminates records that include a search term or group of search terms. Use this operator carefully to limit a search, as you may unintentionally eliminate relevant records.

2. Plurals: 

The plus + will search for any plural formed with either -s or -es.

Example: witch+ searches for witch and witches

3. Truncation: 

This allows you to search for a term and its variations by entering a minimum of the first three letters of the term followed by an asterisk *. For example, securit* retrieves records that contain securitysecuritiessecuritization, etc.

4. Wildcard: 

A pound sign # represents a single character. Example: wom#n searches for woman and women. A question mark ?, alone or with a number, represents from zero to nine additional characters. Example: col?1r searches for color or colour.

5. With and Near:

Type w or with between two terms to search for records containing both terms. Add a number (1-25) to specify the number of words between. Type n or near between two terms to search for records containing both terms, in any order, with no words between them. 

Example:  chicken n3 egg records containing chicken and egg with either word appearing first and with no more than three other words between them 

6. Date:

To search for items dated within a range of years, use the mathematical symbols for "less than" < or "greater than" with a year index. For examples see the SearchTricks Page.

7. Names:

Enter names in Last (Family) First (Given) Middle format for most databases. Do not include a comma between the last and first name.Use a phrase index when searching for common names. A phrase index contains groups of words or names exactly as they appear in the record. For example, an author phrase index will contain the exact phrase: Bates John Louis rather than the individual names as separate entries: Bates and John and Louis You can identify phrase indexes by the inclusion of the word "phrase" in the index title (Author Phrase).

8. Accents and diacritics.  Omit accent marks and diacritics (such as an cedilla or umlaut) and other punctuation marks when entering a search string. 

Apostrophes are both:

  • Deleted and collapsed
  • Converted to a space

French word l'information can be searched as linformation or information

For a more extensive list of search tricks, go to: ‚ÄčFirstSearch

Google: Top 5

1. Phrase searching: Quotations

Formula "X Y" 

Example: "Robin Hood"

2. Proximity searching: The 'AROUND' function

Formula: X AROUND(N) Y

Example: "Robin Hood" AROUND(15) violence

3. Using other Symbols

-     A minus sign/hyphen omits pages that contain a certain word or phrase.

~    A tilde searchers for the word that follows it and any synonyms.

*    Unlike other 'wildcard' searches, an asterisk in google, stands in for a word in a phrase. Ex. All work and no * play make * a dull boy.

4: Using Colons

  • related: Finds sites with a similar URL
  • site: Gets results from a certain site or domain
  • filetype: Use to find a particular file type
  • allintext/intext: Finds pages where all terms appear in the text/ one term appears in text
  • allinurl/inurl: Finds pages where the search terms are in the URL
  • allintitle:/ intitle: Finds pages where all terms appear in the title of the page/ on term appears in the title, if applicable others in the text

5. Combining functions: OR, AROUND, and Nesting

Formula: (X OR Y OR Z) AROUND(N) A

Example: ("Robin Hood" OR "Earl of Huntington" OR "Robert Earle") AROUND(15) violence

For a more extensive list of search tricks, go to: GoogleGuide.