Skip to main content
ProQuest LibGuides Banner ProQuest LogoProQuest LibGuides homeProQuest LibGuides home

Early English Books Online (EEBO): Search Tips

Boolean Operators

     AND

Use AND to narrow a search and retrieve records containing all of the words it separates, e.g. ecclesiast* AND benedict* will only find records containing both these words.


 

      OR 

Use OR to broaden a search and retrieve records containing any of the words it separates, e.g. plague OR peste will find records containing plague only, peste only, or both words. 


       NOT 

Use NOT to narrow a search and retrieve records that do not contain the term following it, e.g. peste NOT remed* will find records that contain peste, but will not contain the word remed*.

Proximity Operators

Proximity and adjacency operators are used to broaden and narrow your search.
 

NEAR.#

Finds documents where these words are within some number of words of each other (either before or after).
Example: davids NEAR.3 psalter

 If you don't specify a number, Early English Books Online will retrieve the terms within 10 words of each other.

FBY.#

Finds documents where these words are within some number of words of each other in the specified order.
Example: davids FBY.3  psalter

If you don't specify a number, Early English Books Online will retrieve the terms within 10 words of each other. 

 

Search Tips

You can search for spelling variants of the words you enter; for example, a search for sing will find occurences of the word sing as well as the variations seynge, synge or syng. EEBO will automatically retrieve all spelling variants for all the word(s) you have entered; if you do not wish to include variant spellings in your search results, simply untick the Search using variant spellings check box. If you wish to include only certain variants, entering a word in the relevant search field and clicking the Check for variants link will take you to a page where you can specify more precisely the particular variants you wish to retrieve.

You can also use the Search using variant forms checkbox in conjunction with variant spelling searching to search for variant forms of the words you enter; for example, a search for civil will find occurences of the word civil as well as the variations civilest , civilly and civils.

Note that if you want to search on a number of variant spellings, your search will be more successful if you use the Variant spellings check box rather than choosing your terms from the Check for variants 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 benedict* will find benedictus, benedictin, benedict, etc.
Searching for *ment will find instrument, treatment, 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 wom?n will find woman, women .