Search Help

Q:  I searched for text I am sure is in the database but the search results were negative.

A:  Assuming you have not made a mistake typing the search words, the most likely problem is you have made your search too restrictive.  The Advanced Search page is designed to allow you to easily revise your search criteria based on an initial search.  Begin with a minimum number of words and other search criteria; test the results and then use the "modify" option to refine or add to your initial search criteria.

Q:  What is the difference between the Key Word and the Key Phrase search?

A:  The Keyword option will search the database for any instances of the words you enter.  The Key Phrase option looks for words in a specific order.  A good example of this issue can be found in the search "council agenda" which occurs at least 37 times in the database when you use the Key Phrase search.  However, if you do use the Key Word option, this search produces almost 104 hits.  The difference occurs because the Key Word search ignores small words like "by" and "the" in a key word search and it looks for any occurance of the word in a document.  The Key Phrase search must be an exact match to return a hit.  If you want to search on a text string, use the Key Phrase search.

Q:  Why would I want to use the Exclude Words option?

A:  If your initial search produces a large number of responses and you note a word in the titles you want to eliminate from the search, select the Modify Search option and add the word to the Exclude Words option and search again.

Q:  What can I do to improve my search results?

A:  Keep the search options to a minimum and limit your word options.  If the results proves effective, you can use the Search Modify process to trim the number of responses.  These might include categories, date ranges, exclude words, etc.

Q:  I want to search for a document created on a specific day.  How do I do this?

A:  Use the Creation Date option entering the same day in both text boxes.

Q:  Is there anything else I can do to make it easier to find the document I seek?

A:  If you pass your mouse over the title words in Search Results, you will note that the column headings can be selected.  Clicking on the column heading sorts the results.  If you click again, the results order is reversed.  You can only sort on one column at a time.  Experiment with sorting search results to develop a better sense of how you might take advantage of this feature.

Additional suggestions and answers can be found on the Help / FAQ page.

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