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Using the Text Search field

When you perform an Advanced search you can specify text that you want to search for that appears anywhere in the legislation by typing that text in the 'Text Search' field.

 

'Text' field on the Advanced search page

 

If you want to search for a single word, simply type that word in the 'Text Search' field. If you want to search for a phrase, enclose that phrase in double quote marks ("). For example, if you type "home secretary" the search returns any legislation containing these words exactly.

 

There are two types of wildcard that you can include in your search:

 

 

For instance, if you want to search for 'departments' and 'departmental', type department* in the 'Text Search' field. The search routines will return legislation containing any word beginning with 'department'. You can place the wildcard wherever you want in word or partial word that you type in, except at the beginning. (A wildcard character can never be used as the first character of a search term.) So, a search on cl*h will return legislation containing 'cloth' and 'clutch', and a search on practi?e will return legislation containing 'practice' and 'practise'.

 

If you want to search for more than one word but do not want to search for a specific phrase, there are a few points to bear in mind:

 

 

To illustrate these points, we'll take a look at a few scenarios.

 

If you type this:

 

 employment learning

 

the search returns any legislation with the word 'employment' and the word 'learning' anywhere in the content.

 

If you type this:

 

 employment OR learning

 

the search returns any legislation with the word 'employment' or the word 'learning' in the content.

 

If you type this:

 

 employment-learning

 

the search returns any legislation with the word 'employment' in the content and the word 'learning' absent from the content.

 

If you type this:

 

 employ* learn*

 

the search returns any legislation with the word 'employ' or 'employment' or 'employer' or 'employee' and also the word 'learn' or 'learning' or 'learned'.

 

The table below sets out details of the available search options:

 

Symbol

Operator/ Function

Example

Blank space

AND

A blank space between two words causes the search engine to look for both words anywhere in the content.

For example, if you type department learning, the search will produce results with the word 'department' and the word 'learning' anywhere in the content.

+

AND

A plus character (+) between two words causes the search engine to look for both words anywhere in the content, just as with the blank space (so department+learning searches for 'department' and 'learning').

You can also use the + operator in order to search for documents that must contain one word and may or may not contain another. For example, if you type +department learning, the search will produce results that must contain the word 'department' and may contain the word 'learning'.

AND

AND

On SLD this operator functions in the same way as a blank space and so is likely to be of limited use. It may sometimes be convenient to use it in defining sub-queries (see below).

It should be placed between the associated search terms with a blank space either side (e.g. department AND learning).

OR

OR

The word OR between two words causes the search engine to look for either word anywhere in the content.

Note that the operator is placed between the associated search terms with a blank space either side.

For example, if you type department OR learning, the search will produce results with the word 'department' or the word 'learning' anywhere in the content.

-

NOT

A hyphen character (-) between two words (with no spaces) will return documents that contain the first term, but only if the second term does not occur anywhere in the content.

For example, department-learning searches for 'department' in legislation but will not return any items in which the word 'learning' also occurs.

Note that the NOT operator cannot be used with just one term.

NOT

NOT

This operator functions in the same way as the minus (-) symbol above.

It should be placed between the associated search terms with a blank space either side (e.g. department NOT learning).

" "

PHRASE

Double double quote characters (") around two or more words causes the search engine to look for the precise sequence of words between the quote marks.

For example, if you type "department of learning", the search will produce results with the words 'department of learning' anywhere in the content.

Note that certain common words, such as 'of', 'for', 'the', 'and', etc, are ignored to ensure that search results are as meaningful as possible, which means that in the example, the search produces the sequence 'department for learning' as well as 'department of learning'.

" "~

NEAR

To find specified words occurring within a certain distance from each other, enclose the words in quotation marks (" ") and place a tilde (~) symbol immediately afterwards followed by the maximum number of words of separation.

For example, if you type "department learning"~10, the search will produce results in which the word department occurs within 10 words of the word learning. (Note: despite the requirement of quotation marks, the results produced do not depend on the order in which the words are entered.)

( )

creating sub-queries

Standard parenthesis operators enable you to form sub-queries.

If, for example, you want to find a document which contains either 'department' or 'learning' but which also contains 'teach', you can use the query: (department OR learning) AND teach. (Note: this query would work just as well with a blank space instead of the AND.)

~

fuzzy searches

Fuzzy searching is where the search engine looks for words that are spelt similarly to your specified word. (The calculation is based on the Levenshtein Distance or Edit Distance algorithm.)

To perform a fuzzy search, place a tilde (~) symbol at the end of a single word.

For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to 'roam', enter roam~ This will find terms like 'foam' and 'roams'.

?

single character wildcard

A question mark character (?) in the place of a character you are unsure of causes the search engine to look for any single character where the ? character appears.

For example, a search for te?t will produce results containing 'tent', 'text' or 'test' (but not 'tenet'). Note that you can not use a ? symbol as the first character of a search term.

*

multiple character wildcard

An asterisk character (*) in the place of one or more characters you are unsure of causes the search engine to look for any sequence of characters (including no character at all) where the * character appears.

For example, if you type se*t, the search will produce results containing 'set', 'sent' or 'secretariat'.

You can also use wildcards at the end of a term. Thus a search for test* will produce results containing test, tester or testament. Note that you cannot use a * symbol as the first character of a search term.

 

 

Note:

If a 'Text Search' field search is successful, any provision containing the text that matches your search criteria is marked with the red star Matching keywords icon on the Results within Legislation page, and the matching text within the provision is highlighted with a yellow background.

 

 

See also

 

 

Parent topic

Search Techniques