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Legislative Insight

Point of use instruction for researchers

Step 1- Search for and identify the documents

If you are interested in what was said or done in the legislative process regarding particular issues, or about particular words or phrases, you can easily search within our compiled legislative history for specific terms. Using Boolean search logic, you can use the search box at the top of a history to search within all the attached PDF documents. Type your terms in "Find terms in full text publications:"- you can use connectors such as AND, OR, NOT and NEAR/x, and you can use double-quotes to find a specific phrase.

Once you have done this search, the documents that have your search hits in the attached PDF will be highlighted with a gold box around the download link. You can filter the view of the page to only show those documents. You cant tell how many hits are in each document, or see where they are or get a preview- that is what we will be using Adobe for!

Step 2- Download and store the PDF's

Once you have identified the documents that you will be searching and reading, you can download them manually, one at a time, to a location on your computer or network. It will help the next search step if you create a new separate folder for any and all PDF's from your search results. There is no batch functionality in Legislative Insight to download multiple PDF's. (However, there is a browser plug-in for Firefox called Zotero that can automate this process, if you use the Firefox browser. Please request a private webinar from your trainer if you would like more information on this functionality.) Save each PDF to a folder you create on your local or document drive for this resaerch.

Step 3- Search the document folder in a single step

Now we have a folder of exported documents, all of which have our search terms which we identified in step 1. Now we want to see how many, where, and in what context they appear, so we are going to do a "batch" search all at once in Adobe Reader or Acrobat to see that information. Unbeknownst to many of us Adobe even allows us to do proximity searching- if you search terms in proximity to each other in Legislative Insight, now you can find those hits in our PDF's easily.

Tips for batch searching in Adobe.

  1. Use the Advanced Search (Edit-> Advanced Search, or Shift-Ctrl-F)
  2. Look In: Browse for Location- THIS IS WHERE YOU FIND THE FOLDER YOU STORED YOUR PDF'S IN, OR EXPORTED FROM ZOTERO. If you only select a single PDF, you will have to search each one individually- we want to save time and see our search hits, so select the entire folder that you created for your PDF downloads or export.
  3. Enter your search terms or phrase and select Match ALL of the Words. Proximity will be greyed out unless you have selected a folder to search and selected match ALL. (Note: you have to set your Proximity distance in the search preferences (Edit-> Preferences-> Search) - the default is 900 so you may have to change this to 5 if you searched for dog NEAR/5 cat for example)
  4. For proximity, just type the words (no connector). If the proximity button is selected it will search for the terms using the default proximity in the search preferences.
  5. Click search and the entire folder is quickly searched. All documents with hits will be displayed in an expandable hierarchy. You can see your search hits with a few words of context by expanding each document in the left pane. Now you can quickly see which documents are the most relevant to your research and begin reading in the exact spot where your terms are discussed!