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Black Abolitionist Papers: Search Tips

A guide to all aspects of ProQuest's Black Abolitionist Papers database including content, searching, and viewing results.

Boolean Operators

     AND

Use AND to narrow a search and retrieve records containing all of the words it separates, e.g. Georgia and religion ; Georgia and religion and preacher, will only find records containing the specified search terms. Note: If you wish to search for the word 'and' in a phrase rather than using it as a Boolean operator, you should type the phrase into the search box and enclose it in double quotation marks (i.e., "jazz and blues").


 

      OR 

Use OR to broaden a search and retrieve records containing any of the words it separates, e.g. Georgia or Florida ; Georgia or Florida or Louisiana will find records containing any, some or all of the search terms. Note: If you wish to search for the word 'or' in a phrase rather than using it as a Boolean operator, you should type the phrase into the search box and enclose it in double quotation marks (i.e., "jazz or blues").


       NOT 

Use NOT to narrow a search and retrieve records that do not contain the term following it, e.g. religion not preacher will find records that contain religion, but will not contain the word preacher.  Note: If you wish to search for the word 'not' in a phrase rather than using it as a Boolean operator, you should type the phrase into the search box and enclose it in double quotation marks (i.e., "jazz not blues").

Stop Words

There are no stop words. Every word found in all indexed documents is searchable.

Search Tips

  • Use double quotation marks (" ") to search for exact phrases, such as "Moses Brown Papers" or "Library of Congress".
  • Two word queries not bound within double quotation marks, such as slave trade, are searched as an implict AND.
  • Index terms selected from the broswable lists linked on the Search tab are automatically joined by the OR operator when they are populated into the search fields on the search page. Example: Choose "Select from list" link next to the Subject field on the Search page. Check the box next to two or more indexed subjects and click the Select button to add the terms to the search page.

Truncation, Wildcard, and Hyphen Characters

*

The asterisk (*) is the Truncation character, used to replace one or more characters. The truncation character can be used at the beginning (left-hand truncation), the end (right-hand truncation), or in the middle of a word.

Example: Searching for econom* will find economy, economics, economical, etc.
Searching for *old will find told, household, bold, etc.

?

The question mark symbol (?) is the Wildcard character, used to replace any single character, either inside or at the right end of the word.
The wildcard character cannot be used to begin a word.

Example: Searching for t?re will find tire, tyre, tore, etc.
Searching for ad??? will find added, adult, adopt

 ( )

Use parentheses to search for grouped statements.

Example: A search for (Abraham Lincoln) election will return all records mentioning Abraham Lincoln and the word election.

  :  

 Use a colon to weight terms. Weights range from 1-10.

Example: A search for 13th Amendment:3 vote will return records with hits on Amendment (and its expansions) being ranked three times higher than hits on 13th or vote (and their expansions).

 Case   

All searches are case-insensitive, so you do not have to know whether a word should be capitalized or not, or worry about miskeying a word. For example, there is difference between Alabama, alabama, or aLabama.

Proximity Operators

The NEAR proximity operator can be used to expand or refine your search.
 

near

or

near.#

Near finds documents where these words are within some number of words of each other (either before or after).

Note: If no maximum is set, results retreived will reflect entries where all the terms entered are within ten (10) word of each other.

Examples: white near abolitionist ; white near.3 abolitionist