Search Syntax

The BOCC Electronic Document Archive supports powerful searches. This document describes the syntax for entering searches.

Boolean Searches

askSam allows the use of the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT to combine the elements in your search.

     Enter:     construction and hospital and DMH

      Find:     documents containing the words construction, hospital, DMH

     Enter:     keaton boat ramp

      Find:     documents containing the words keaton, boat, and ramp

          This search is identical to the first search.

     Enter:     Florida or Hawaii or California

      Find:     documents containing either Florida, Hawaii, or California

     Enter:     not expensive and not crowded

      Find:     documents which do not contain the words expensive and crowded

     Enter:     red and (white or blue)

      Find:     documents containing red and either white or blue.

     Enter:     (red and white) or blue

      Find:     documents containing red and white or just blue.

Wildcard Searches

Searches can include the wildcard symbols * and ?. The * replaces multiple characters (up to 80). The ? replaces a single character.

     Enter:     German*

      Find:     Germany, Germanic, Germans, ...

     Enter:     *CAD

     Find:     AutoCAD, NiCad, ...

     Enter:     80?86

     Find:     80286, 80386, 80486, ...

Searching for Phrases

When you enter two words in a search, the Web Publisher retrieves all documents containing these two words:

     Enter:     Windows Write

     Find:     With XYZ for Windows you can write mail merge letters.

To find words directly next to each other, place square brackets [  ] around the phrase.

     Enter:     [Windows Write]

     Find:     The Readme file was written in Windows Write.

Fuzzy Searching

A fuzzy search helps you locate information when you're not sure of the spelling

     Enter:     {fuzzy} Kathy

     Find:     Documents containing either Kathy, Kathi, or Cathy

NOTE: Search commands such as FUZZY must be entered in curly braces {  }. This tells askSam that the word FUZZY is a command and not a term in your search.

Searching in a Specific Field

You can restrict an askSam search to the contents of a specific field.

     Enter:     White {in} Name:

     Find:     documents where White appears in the Name: field.

If the field you are searching is longer than a single line, use the long command to search the entire field.

     Enter:      askSam {in long} Notes:

     Find:     documents where askSam appears anywhere in the Notes: field.

Numeric Searching

With askSam's Numeric Search you can select Documents based on a numeric comparison (>, <, =, >=, <=, <>).

     Enter:     Price: < 2,000

     Find:     documents where the number in the Price: field is less than 2000.

Proximity Searching

A Proximity Search locates two words or phrases occurring within a specified proximity of one another.  This enables you to use the natural elements contained within blocks of normal text (Words, Lines, Sentences and Paragraphs) to tailor your search.

     Enter:     Thatcher {vicinity :0P Reagan}

     Find:     documents where Thatcher and Reagan appear in the same paragraph.

The Proximity Search supports the following modifiers

     W - Words

     L - Lines

     S - Sentences

     P - Paragraphs

     B - Before

     A - After

     E - On either side of

     0 (Zero) - In the same Word, Line, Sentence, or Paragraph


You can mix these modifiers to create a variety of searches:

     Enter:     Internet {vicinity :1WB access}

     Find:     documents where Internet appears 1 word before access.

     Enter:     veto {vicinity :2LA President}

     Find:     documents where veto appears within 2 lines after President.

     Enter:     GM {vicinity :1SE Ford}

     Find:     documents where GM appears 1 sentence either side of Ford.

Date Searching

The Date Search finds information according to a date contained in a field. There are three categories of Date Searching:

Single range ("find all documents earlier than...")

     Enter:     {cal} Date: < 01-01-2001

     Find:     documents where the date in the Date: field is before January 1, 2001

Dual range ("find all documents from 1970 to 1980")

     Enter:     {cal} Born: >= 01-01-1970 and {cal} Born: <= 01-01-1980

     Find:     documents with dates in the Born field between 1970 and 1980.

Comparison ("find documents with dates from the last 30 days")

     Enter:     {cal} Date:{to} [ ] <= 30 days

     Find:     documents where the date in the Date field is <= 30 days from today.

     Enter:     {cal} Date:{to} Dec. 7, 1941  <= 2 months

     Find:     documents where the date is <= 2 months from December 7, 1941.

     Enter:     {cal} Date:{to} [ ] >= 1 year

     Find:     documents where the date in the Date field is >= 1 year from today.

NOTE: Dates of varying formats can be mixed in a file and will still be understood. For example, askSam can compare, sort and evaluate a file with dates such as July 30th, 2001, 30 JUL. 2001, and 07-30-2001 mixed throughout the file.

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