Boolean, proximity and truncation searching
To narrow the scope of your search you can use the following special sets of predefined words, called operators, to join together your search terms:
EEBO allows you to combine your search terms so you can target your search at more specific areas. For example, from the Basic Search page you can list the works in EEBO which contain the words romantic and love.
You combine your search terms using the following special keywords, called Boolean operators:
Note: that if you want to search for the word 'and' in a phrase, such as 'love and hate', you should type the phrase into the search box and enclose it in double quotes; for example, "love and hate".
The Search Results page will be displayed, listing all works containing the words 'war' and 'peace'.
If you select more than one term from the browse index, EEBO automatically combines them in the search box using this operator.
Note: that if you want to search for the word 'or' in a phrase, such as 'love or hate', you should type the phrase into the search box and enclose it in double quotes; for example, "love or hate".
The Search Results page will be displayed, listing all works containing any or all of the words 'spring', 'summer', 'autumn' or 'winter'.
Note that if you want to search for the word 'not' in a phrase, such as 'love not hate', you should type the phrase into the search box and enclose it in double quotes; for example, "love not hate".
The Search Results page will be displayed, listing all works containing the words 'war' but not the word 'peace'.
Using parentheses with Boolean operators
EEBO not only allows you to search for a particular word or phrase,
but also enables you to refine your searches by using two proximity
operators to look for words that are close to each other:
To use proximity operators:
If no maximum is set, EEBO will list all items that contain the selected search terms within ten words of each other. However, you may not see all the words that you searched for until you view the Full text of the work, as only the five words directly before and after the first search term are given in the Context of Matches.
If you are performing a phrase proximity search, EEBO counts the number of words between the first word of the first phrase and the first word of the second phrase.
Truncation and wildcard operators
EEBO allows you to list documents containing variations on a search
term by using the * (asterisk) truncation operator.
To perform a truncation search:
If you are performing a phrase search, you can only use the truncation operator in the final word in the phrase.
made in he*
You can also use the ? wildcard to replace any character in a given search term, regardless of position (as in gr?y, hono?r, ?nquiry or gothic?). EEBO will search for all terms matching your search term that have any single character or no character in the position occupied by the ? wildcard (for example grey or gray, honor or honour, enquiry or inquiry, gothic or gothick).
Note that it is not possible to use variant spelling functionality in combination with truncation and wildcard operators. If you type a search term in the form je?lo?s* your results will be processed as though you had searched with the Variant spellings box unchecked.
The EXACT operator can be used to retrieve records that match your search term precisely. Simply type the word or phrase enclosed within double quotation marks and preceded by the EXACT operator. For example, type EXACT "England and Wales. Army." into the Author search field and click Search. This search will return results which have "England and Wales. Army." in the Author field, but will exclude works that feature this phrase as part of a longer entry, such as "England and Wales. Army. Council." and "England and Wales. Army. Overton's Regiment.".