How do I Build a Wildcard Search?

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  3. How do I Build a Wildcard Search?
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  3. How do I Build a Wildcard Search?

Wildcard Searching allows you to find various formations of a word, such as the plural or past tense of a word. For example, you may want to find references to the Clayton Act and all variations of the term interlock (interlocks, interlocking, interlocked). We have outlined some basic rules below for using wildcards, as well as a few examples.

HeinOnline supports single-character and multiple-character wildcard searches within single terms (not within phrase queries). To perform a single-character wildcard search, use the “?” symbol in place of the single character you wish to replace. To perform a multiple-character wildcard search, use the “*” symbol to look for zero or more characters. You can use wildcard searches at the end or in the middle of a term. You cannot use a “*” or “?” symbol as the first character of a search term. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Single-Character Wildcard Search:

We want to find articles and legislation in the Law Journal Library focused on women’s rights. To ensure we get the best set of results, we want to construct our search to find all formations of the term “woman” (woman, women) in the article title. Enter the following syntax into the advanced search box:
title: wom?n AND title:rights

Multiple-Character Wildcard Search:

We want to find all references to emissions reduction or emission reductions within recent law journal articles relevant to environmental law from 2010-2015. Enter the following syntax into the search box.

Full Text: emission* AND reduction* AND Article Title: environment*

To narrow the search to look for articles specific to environmental law, we have added syntax to the search query to look for articles that have the key term “environment” or “environmental” within the Article Title. We did this using a wildcard character, environment*.  In this search query, it’s important to remember that wildcard searching will only search within single terms, so our results will include all occurrences of emission* and reduction* (they will not necessarily appear as a phrase). Also, enter your desired year range in the Date boxes:

Using Syntax and Field Searching in the Main Full Text Search Bar

General Rules:
* The query will search across both the full text and metadata of all HeinOnline documents unless you otherwise specify a field such as “creator”.
* The query will look across all titles in that collection unless a title is otherwise specified.
* The query will look across all years available unless a year/year range is otherwise specified.
* Use quotes to form a phrase, “Right to Privacy” vs. Right to Privacy.
* Use capitalized Boolean operators to combine search terms, for example, “intellectual property” AND “international law”.
* The search results are sorted by relevancy by default; results can be reported by various other criteria once the initial results display.


Word Search: To search for a word across the full text of a collection, simply enter the word into the search box. Example: graffiti

Phrase Search: To narrow our above query, let’s expand our term to a phrase, graffiti artist, and enclose it in quotations. Example: “graffiti artist”

Title Search: If we want to find articles that contain the term “graffiti” in the title, then we must specify the title field in our query. Example: title:graffiti

Author Search: To search for an author, we must specify the author field in our query. Example: creator:”White, Rob”

Combined Search Terms (Multiple Fields): Use boolean operators to combine two search terms. Example: creator:”White, Rob” AND title:graffiti

Wildcard Searching: It is also possible to do a wildcard search using the main search bar. When submitting a wildcard search, follow the rules noted above. Example: graffiti AND art*

Proximity Searching: You can also do a proximity search in the main search bar. To illustrate this, we will use the phrase “Reforming International Law”. The phrase itself, in its entirety, returns 12 results. However, if we search for these terms within 10 words of each other, we will expand the breadth of our results. Example: “reforming international law”~10


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