Basic and Advanced Searching


You will need to search through the article database in order to create datasets. You can either do this as part of the normal analysis workflow, or by visiting the “Browse/Search Database” link under “Advanced Tools” in the top menu bar.

Basic Query Syntax

The default search bar in RLetters uses a complex search query parser that allows users to construct all kinds of searches. Here’s some examples:

  • fish

    A basic, default search looks for the terms provided, both as a phrase and as individual terms, in the titles of authors, the article full text, and the journals in which they are published (in that order of priority). A basic search for fish, therefore, would return articles with fish in the title, with fish mentioned in the full text, and published in any journals whose titles contain fish.

  • author:Simpson

    You can also search for terms within particular metadata fields. The following fields can be used:

    • fulltext: The article’s full text
    • authors (or author, or au): The authors of the article
    • title: The title of the article
    • journal: The journal in which the article was published
    • year: The year in which the article was published
    • volume: The volume of the journal in which the article appears
    • number: The issue number of the journal in which the article appears
    • pages: The pages of the journal in which the article appears
    • doi: The Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
    • license: The license for the article

    To search by metadata fields, type a field and a search term separated by a colon. To search for a phrase that includes spaces, surround the phrase with double-quotes:

    author:"John Thompson"

    These metadata queries can be combined using boolean operators.

  • author:Thompson OR journal:Fish

    The boolean combiners AND and OR can be used. The default combination is AND.

(This search parser is an edismax parser, described in the Solr documentation.)

Creating Datasets

You can save the current search results as a dataset by clicking the green “Save Results” button. For more information, see the section of the manual on the analysis workflow, or information on advanced dataset management.

Search Filters

The right-hand column on the search page allows you to filter the search results by author, journal, or decade of publication. Once these filters are added to the search, you will only see results that satisfy all of the active filters. The filters appear in a bar just beneath the search query. Clicking on them will remove them, or you can click on the Remove All button to reset all filters.

Document Information

To get more information about a particular document, click the “More” button at the right of the citation. You’ll find a variety of tools. You can either create a dataset containing only a single document, or you can add this document to a dataset that you’ve already created. You can visit the website of the journal to download a PDF of the article, if you have access to the content. You can search for the article using your local libraries (see the user accounts page for more information), or with the WorldCat or UK OpenURL resolvers. You can look for information about this article on external sources, such as Google Scholar or CiteULike. Lastly, you can see detailed information about the article, including the terms of our license for its content and its DOI.

Advanced Searches

The advanced search page lets you carefully build a search query, combining metadata searches for the various fields with a user-friendly search form. It can be reached via a button at the bottom of the right-hand panel on the search page.

Three fields are slightly different from the basic search parser. The document full text, the article, and the journal title can either be searched “fuzzy” or “exact.” The exact search requires the exact words that you type to be present in the listed field. Fuzzy searches perform stemming on both the words in your query and the words in the field, so that varying word endings and forms will match. (Both the default RLetters search queries and most search engines such as Google use fuzzy or stemmed searching.)

Also, if you select either the “Authors” field or the “Journal (exact)” field, RLetters will auto-complete values from the database as you begin to type.

Solr Query Syntax

Lastly, if you visit the advanced search page and click on the bottom link to search in Solr’s query syntax, you can use the full power of the Solr search server. We use Solr’s Lucene query syntax, and the full list of fields that can be queried is provided up above.

All content copyright © 2010–2018 Charles Pence. All web content is released under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0.
Code is released under the MIT License. RLetters logo taken from a photograph by Leo Reynolds.