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Tips on Searching

TIPS ON SEARCHING

We use Verity search engine. This supports both simple word searches and boolean queries - meaning that you can refine your queries using logical operators such as "and", "or" and "not". The information below introduces how to search this site, and covers:

What is searched?
The search extends to all of the major content areas of the site. While there will be some variation, based on whether these tools are in use in your area, these generallyinclude:

  • News
  • Calendar
  • Library
  • New Cases
  • Roster
  • Mail List Messages
  • About, Help and other site pages

The following pages are NOT included in site search results

  • Area Home Pages
  • Volunteer Clearinghouse
  • Pro Bono Opportunities Guide

Keyword search indexes include all of the major fields associated with each piece of content (Title, Organization, Description, Location, etc.), and, in the case of the Library, includes the body of file attachments in most common file formats, including Word, WordPerfect, Excel, HTML and most PDF files.

Basic Queries
Most queries can be written by entering the words and phrases you're interested in.

Words: If you want to see documents dealing with custody you can start with a single-word query, such as: protection Your query finds all items that include the word "protection."

Phrases: To see documents that refer to a series of words that occur in a specific order, such as "order of protection" or "in forma pauperis," enter the whole phrase: order of protection Your query finds only items that include that exact phrase in that exact order.

Note: Searches will be case-insensitive unless you use uppercase. The query apple will return Apple, apple or even aPpLe, whereas the query Apple will return only Apple. This means that all search words should be in lower-case, unless you are searching for a word that always has the same capitalization.

Refining Queries
You can make your queries more specific by combining the words you used for basic queries with operators. Operators are special words that are used to indicate logical relationships between the descriptive terms that make up your query.

and Returns results containing all specified words regardless of order. or Returns results containing any of the specified words, regardless of order. not Eliminates results containing a specified word.

  • Example: "support not spousal"

" " (double quotes) Use quotes to make sure that only the specific word is found. (Can also be used to find phrases.)

  • Example: "bank" will only find the word bank and not banking, banked or banker.

? Wildcard operator that represents any one character. You can use a ? to specify the first letter of a word.

  • Example: "mari?uana"

* Wildcard operator that represents one or more characters. You cannot use a * to specify the first letter of a word.

  • Example: "bank*" (finds bank and bankrupt)
Search Hints

Email Addresses

The search treats the "@" character as a blank space. If you're searching for an email address substitute ablank spacefor the "@" symbol in an email address.

Ex: "mobrien probono.net" will return results for "mobrien@probono.net"

Case Names

Do not include periods (".") in your searches.

Ex: "Aker Kennedy " returns results with the case name Aker v. Kennedy Instead, use the operator

Search Results

Search Results are displayed by tool, with the first 5 results for each tool visible on the default results page. Click on the "more..." link below any set of results to see additional returns.

Advanced Search
This feature allows you to refine your search using any combination of four filters:

  • Tool (Library, News, Calendar, etc.)
  • Topic
  • Organization
  • Date Posted

Click on the Advanced Search >> link found below all regular search boxes to pull up the form. Follow these steps for using the form:

Keyword: You can search using any single word, phrase or boolean string (i.e., multiple words or phrases connected by "or", "and" or "not").
You can use keywords in combination with any of the following filters or additional search fields:

Search in: This dropdown list presents all of the separate tools that are active in the area you're searching. Select any single tool to limit your search to just that area of the site (e.g., Library or News or Calendar, etc.)
Topic: You can limit your search to resources associated wtih any topic presented on this dropdown list.

Organization: Use this input field to search for resources posted by an individual organization. You can enter the full name of the group or part of the name.

TIP: This field refers to the organization that authors a news item, hosts a calendar event, publishes a library resource, or seeks attorneys for a new case. If the organization you are interested in uses a common acronym, try using a boolean search, such as: "Legal Services for New York or LSNY"

Date Posted: Select a Date posted to limit your search to content published during the period selected.

TIP: Date Posted refers to the date an item was published onto the site, not the date on which a calendar event is being held. Use this field to quickly find out what content has been posted since your last visit to the site. You can isolate content posted in the last week, last month, last 3 months, last 6 months, last year, or content posted before the last year.

Shared Content Searches
One of the features with Advanced Search is that you can extendyour search beyond a single area to include content published in other states or substantive practice areas.

To conduct a shared search, follow these steps:

  • Find the Shared Content area at the bottom of the Advanced Search form.
  • Click on this link: "Click here to search shared content from other practice areas."
  • A new page will load, with a universal Topic list in the Topic drop down box.

If you ran a search just before taking these steps, your search would run again, this time excluding content contained within your practice area. If not, follow the steps outlined above in the Advanced Search section, and look at the sections above on Basic Queries, Refining Queries and Search Hints for further guidance on creating a search.

TIP: Shared search results display a globe icon to indicate that resources are from other practice areas. The name of the originating practice area is listed below each item.

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