Search Operators

In Advanced Search, you choose the search operators to be applied in combining multiple words into phrases and to combine multiple searches. The operators available to you for these expert search options are listed and described in the next two sections.

Boolean Operators

The Cuadra STAR software used for searching the Catalog supports use of the three Boolean operators depicted in this diagram:

AND:  For records to be retrieved, they must contain all of your search terms — the overlapping intersection of records that have both TERM A and TERM B.
OR:  For records to be retrieved, they can contain any of your search terms — records that include either TERM A or TERM B, or both TERM A and TERM B. Such formulations are typically constructed of terms that are synonyms, related terms, or variant forms/spellings.
NOT:  For records to be retrieved, they cannot contain the NOT term(s). In this example, the retrieved records must contain TERM A but cannot also contain TERM B. You should apply this operator with caution, since such formulations can sometimes exclude potentially relevant records (i.e., items in the AND intersection).

The definition of "records must contain" depends on the particular search that you are doing. For example, if you are searching across multiple fields (e.g., in the Titles search line), the terms must be present (or not present) in any of several title-related fields being searched. However, if you are doing a words search in a specific field selected from the listbox in the More Search Options section, e.g., Subjects, those words must be present (or not present) in that field.

Proximity Operators

STAR also allows for the use of proximity operators, which provide for more precise searches than can be achieved with the Boolean AND operator. When proximity indexing rules have been applied to a STAR database, it keeps track not only the field from which search terms have been extracted but, as well, positional information of the data within those fields — according to the indexing rules a designer has specified.

These additional operators can then be applied in searching to specify the "proximity" relationship of your search terms within the ANDed subset of records for them to be included in your search results. The operators are listed in descending order —from the broadest to the most precise retrieval.

Operator Specifies that your search words must be... Notes
W/F within the same field Use if retrieving across multiple fields, such as the Titles search line and the All Content Data listbox option in the More Search Options section.
W/P within the same paragraph Use if searching a field such as Content Notes and Biography/Profiles that may include considerable text and, possibly, multiple paragraphs.
W/S within the same sentence Use if searching a field with considerable text.
W/O ('oh') within the same occurrence

Use if searching a field such as the Creator or Subject fields, where there can be more than one instance or occurrence.

For example, a search of carlos w/o cuadra will not retrieve a record with these two Creator occurrences:

Cuadra, Dean
Bailstrom, Carlos


within 'n' words
equivalent of W/5

Use with any field to specify the number of intervening words to be allowed.

For example, account* near bucks will retrieve the second but not the first item below:

Account books of New Hope township, Wrightstown township, and several others in Bucks County are arranged...

Account books of Bucks County, including New Hope, Wrightstown, and other townships are arranged...

To broaden a search to include retrieval of records in which your key words may be separated by more than 5 intervening words, use an option such as W/10.

W/0 ('zero') adjacent to, in either order

Use to combine words into a phrase that may be expressed with different word orders.

For example, fritz w/0 reiner will retrieve records with names in either order, of Fritz Reiner or Reiner, Fritz.

ADJ adjacent to, in the specified order

Use to retrieve records containing your words in the exact same order as your search terms.

For example, a search of mona adj lisa will not retrieve records with the phrases "mona wilkinson" and "lisa jones".

If a search field has not been defined to allow for retrieval by the particular proximity operator that you select, STAR will automatically apply the operator from the next level up in the hierarchy, up to and including the AND operator. No errors will be generated.

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