For most purposes, natural query language is the best way to search - just phrase your query as though you were making a request. Word order is not important for a natural language query and searches are not case sensitive. The default operator for searches within a field is AND - which means that a match results only if an article contains ALL of the terms you enter into a field.  Refine your search simply by adding more words to your search terms.  The new results will be a subset of your original query.

You can select the search operator for searches distributed among more than one field using the Advanced or Expert Search Forms.  The default operator among fields is AND, meaning requirements in each field must be met in order to return a match. 

Note: The default search operator is configurable by the administrator on a site wide basis and depends upon site configuration.

More experienced searchers may want to use Boolean search capabilities. Use upper-case letters to indicate Boolean search operators. Here are some of the valid search operators for this system:

OR searches for articles containing any of the terms it separates.
Example: coral OR reef OR degradation returns articles that contain any of the search terms in the specified field.

NOT searches for articles containing the query word preceding it, but not the word following it.
Example: coral NOT reef returns articles that contain the term coral, but not the term reef.

Use the asterisk character (*) at the end of a term to indicate term completion.  This is also know as a wildcard search.
Example: micro* matches microscope, microcomputer, micron

" "
Quotes around terms indicate a phrase search, which looks for an exact match of terms within the quotes.
Example: "coral reef degradation" returns only articles that contain the search terms in the order specified within the quotes. Stop words are disregarded in phrase searches.

Use the adjacency operator to search for records in which the term that follows it appears immediately after the word preceding it. This is equivalent to performing a phrase search.
Example: coral ADJ reef returns matches that contain both terms in the specified order.

Use the near operator to perform a proximity search. The default value for the near term proximity search is 10.  You can refine the number of words if you wish. When you use NEAR, the order of results is based on how closely together the keywords are located in the returned matches.
Example: coral NEAR[5] reef returns matches that contain both coral and reef located within five words of each other in a document.

Some things to remember:

  • Boolean Operators require capitalization, and capitalization is ignored for all other search terms. You can use Boolean operators on any of the search forms.  The Expert Form has an open text search box specially designed for expert researcher use.
  • Use the advanced search form if you want to search by category or limit your results by date.
  • If you want to search within a specific journal, you can browse to the title and use the Quick Search box provided on the page.

Get details about search operators and search fields in the section on Searching


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