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Search operators

Precise queries may be entered using any combination of operators listed below. If a search expression is entered from this advanced search screen with no explicit operator, the adjacency operator "OR" will automatically be inserted between words.

Boolean operators

and
Boolean AND logic operator. Searches for records containing both of the words it separates.

or
Boolean OR logic operator. Searches for records containing either of the words it separates.

not
Boolean NOT logic operator. Searches for records containing the query word preceding it without containing the word following it.

Proximity operators

near
NEAR operator. Functions as bi-directional proximity operator if word range (e.g. deficit near/3 spending) is specified. If no word range is specified, functions as bi-directional adjacency operator.

adj
Adjacency operator. Searches for records in which the query word that follows it appears immediately after the word preceding it.

w/n
Proximity operator. Searches for word pairs in which the pair's second term occurs within a specified number of words after the first. Example: amphibian W/5 DNA finds records in which DNA occurs withinfive words after amphibian.

Truncation operators

?
Wildcard operator for a single character; matches any one character.

*
Wildcard operator for strings; matches any string. Examples: micro* matches microscope, microcomputer; *late matches relate, translate.

+
Stemming operator; forces a word stem. Example: run+ finds run, runs, and running.

#
Exact match operator; forces an exact word match. Example: run# finds run, but not runs or running.

@
Thesaurus operator; replaces the word before the operator with its synonyms from the thesaurus. Example: satellite@ is replaced by synonyms listed for satellite in the thesaurus.

!
Concept operator; automatically generates a list of words related to the word before the operator; searches for, retrieves, and ranks all records containing those related words; hit words are highlighted.

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Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org
28 August 1999