Quick Search

The Quick Search option available on nearly every page in World Folklore and Folklife allows users to type in a few keywords and view the results. Boolean operators are not necessary, but, if included, AND, OR, and NOT operators will be allowed to function as they normally would. If these operators are not detected, the keywords entered will be joined with ANDs.

Since this option is potentially a simple and broad search, it is recommended that users with specific searches or specific results in mind use the advanced search page, where results can be more powerfully controlled.

Sample search

Enter your search term in the Quick Search box at the top left of the screen. For a sample search, start with "Cinderella."

Search results

The search results page shows that there are 202 results for "Cinderella." The tabs show how those results break down, and the number of results in each category: Articles (96), Chapters (27), Tales (73), Multimedia (4), and Resources (2). The search results page defaults to show the tab with the most results — in this case, there are more Articles than anything else, so that is the tab that shows.

Search terms are highlighted in yellow so that they easily stand out in content

Search Results

Search within search results

To help make searching more effective, World Folklore and Folklife allows users to Search within their existing Search results.

For example, supposing you now decide to search for "princes in Cinderella stories." In the Quick Search box type "prince." Check the "Search within your results" box and click Go. The Tales tab now has 35 results, all of which include both "Cinderella" and "prince" as search terms.

Notice the Keyword Search History below the Search box. You can go back to a previous point in the search at any time by clicking on the appropriate keyword.

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Advanced Search

The Advanced Search option is available from any page within the site. Click on the link at the top right of the screen.

Advanced Search allows users either to build more complicated searches, supporting Boolean operators, or to make their keyword searches even more effective by limiting them to specific content areas.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search: Keyword

The keyword search option works much like the advanced search screen of major search engines, with some minor differences. For the keyword search only, all Boolean operators except wildcards will be removed in order to build the most reliable query. Instead of Boolean operators, use each text box as specified:

Keyword — searches throughout content for the specific word entered
Subject — searches the indexing terms associated with content for the specific word entered
Title — searches the titles of content for the specific word entered

You can link your search terms using AND, OR, NOT.

Filter by type

This option allows another level of specificity to the search. Check the boxes of the content type you are interested in to limit your search to just those particular areas of the site:

Articles — shorter pieces of content
Chapters — complete book chapters
Internet resources — vetted weblinks
F& W Dictionary of Folklore — entries from Funk and Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. Good, plain, background information.
Folktale Library — the collections of folk and fairy tales within the site

Advanced Search: Boolean Search

The Boolean search option offers much more powerful search capabilities than the keyword search, including the operators defined below. Those who choose to use this option must write their query using the specified Boolean terms. For convenience, a drop-down menu has been provided that will automatically insert them.

Search Operators

The search operators that our search engine understands are:

  • and ( AND or + )
  • or ( OR or | )
  • not ( NOT or - )
  • adjacency ( ADJ# replace the # with a number )
  • near ( NEAR# replace the # with a number )
  • frequency ( ># replace the # with a number)
  • operator priority ( parentheses )
  • single character wildcard ( ? )
  • multiple character wildcard ( * )
  • choice ( [ ] )
A Word about Adjacency, Near, and Choice Operators

When used, the adjacency operator specifies the order in which terms must appear and how far apart those terms can be. In the example "trickster ADJ3 (Anansi OR coyote)," an entry must contain "trickster … Anansi" or "trickster … coyote" no more than three words apart and in that order to be returned. An entry only with "coyote … trickster" will not be returned. The near operator disregards the order of terms and looks instead only for the distance between them.
The choice operator offers an alternative to the multiple character wildcard operator by allowing users to define specific word suffixes. As opposed to a search for "myth*," in the example "myth[,s,othology]," any entries containing "myths," "mythology," "mythologies", "mythological" will be returned.

Advanced Search: Search by…

This option allows you to search the indexing terms associated with the content.
Choose a Subject, Time Period, Region or Country, or any combination of options (eg (Appearance + Modern World + Europe + Guatemala) to create a really specific Search. Make your selections from the drop down menus, and click Search.

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Search Tips and Tricks

Quick Search vs. Advanced Search

The quick search option is available on nearly every page of World Folklore and Folklife. It is built for ease of use and flexibility in that it can accept a simple list of keywords or the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT. Since many users prefer simply to enter a string of keywords and view the results, quick search will take this list and build a Boolean AND query with the terms. For example, if a user types "folk music in Turkey" the query will actually be "Find all entries that have the words 'folk' and 'music' and 'Turkey' in them." Many users will find these results perfectly acceptable.

Another way to conduct this search is to use the advanced search page. A slightly different set of results can be viewed by typing " 'folk music'" in the keyword section and selecting "Turkey" from the dropdown Country menu. For broad searches in particular, the difference between a simple quick search and a more pointed advanced search can be significant.

Case Sensitivity, Special Characters, and Stemming

Searching is not case-sensitive. Searches for "folk music," "Folk Music," and "FOLK MUSIC" return the same results in the same order. Many special characters, such as "á" or "è," can be typed into the search boxes simply as "a" or "e." Words can be stemmed using the single character wildcard, ?, the multiple-character wildcard, *, or the choice operators [ ], as described above.

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