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Helpful Hints and Tips to Search the Parliamentary website

General Search

  • Where multiple words are used in a query the search engine will find documents with all of the words (the words are assumed to be ANDed).
  • Where a word is preceded with a plus sign ("+"), that word must occur (the word is ANDed).
  • Where a word is preceded by OR then either the preceding or following term may occur.
  • Where a word is preceded with a minus sign ("-"), that word must not occur (the word is NOTed).
  • Where multiple words are enclosed in quotes, those words must appear as an exact phrase.

Advanced Search

  • Instead of looking for a word, try looking for the relevant phrase. For example, if you are looking for the phrase "winter of discontent" (9 hits), a search for the single word winter will fetch a lot of redundant hits (659 hits). However, be mindful of the fact that common small words - the, it, of, by and so on - are sensed but not matched; so in our example, winter of discontent is equivalent to meaningless phrases like winter by discontent. Moreover, some reserved words - and, or, not, except, in, to, after, before - have special logical meaning for the search engine and will appear to give spurious results. For example, the phrase clean and green means 'instances where words clean as well as green exists in the same document' (4098 hits). Often times such issues can be worked around; for example, with the search string - clean /2/ green - meaning instances where 'green' occurs within two words of 'clean' in a document' (186 hits), which is far more accurate.
  • If you enter more than one word using 'exact phrase' option, the search engine will consider it as a contiguous phrase; for example, a search string - queue hospital - may not find any hits, meaning that text queue hospital was not found. However, if your intention was to look for documents where both words 'queue' and 'hospital' occurred, then use 'logic based' option and input both of these words in 'All of these words' field, or use 'ISYS Command Based Query' option and input queue AND hospital into the field. Similarly, if you were looking for documents that contained either of these words, then use - queue OR hospital in the 'ISYS Command Based Query' field. With judicious use of logical ANDOR s, and NOT s, quite precise and useful searches can be constructed; for example - ((clinic OR hospital) AND queue) /5/ (delay OR waiting) - is far more useful. It is a good idea to use brackets '()' to keep your logical phrases separate, otherwise unintended associations may arise.
  • Of all the logical operators (AND OR etc.), the so-called 'Near by operator' (represented by /#/ ) is extremely useful and powerful, in fact we have already used it twice in the above examples. It makes the search very precise by making it sensitive to proximity. Here is an example - ((economic OR business) /1/ growth) /10/ (promotion OR encouragement) - meaning search for phrases 'economic growth' or 'business growth' which have words   'promotion' or 'encouragement' within 10 words of these.
  • Appending a word with the operator '~' - the conflation operator. It allows all possible words which can be derived from a word stem; for example searching for satisf~ will find all words such as satisfy, satisfaction, satisfied, satisfactory, etc. So - demand /2/ satisf~ - will find all such words when they occur within two words of 'demand'. Now, you, too, can easily formulate searches like ((drought OR flood) /2/ relief) /0,2/ (measures OR fund~ OR program~) which finds quite manageable 44 relevant hits in some 100,000 printed pages.

Search Results and Search-within-Search

The results screen is in tabular format and and can be sorted in various ways. The target document can be viewed in PDF reader, text-only, or as text-snippets with hits. If too many hits are returned, then results are divided into manageable page-sized chunks. As most of our documents are in PDF format we recommend that you use PDF reader to view our documents.

The 'Search further within the bounds of these results' option, allows further refinement of the results as the scope of your search will be limited to the current set of results. Used iteratively, this is a very powerful tool, example: search for education returned 31105 hits, further search-within for curriculum reduced hits to 1849, another search-within for science /2/ mathematics gave 21 hits.

ISYS Search Operator Reference

The following is a list of operators that can be used in 'Isys search string' queries.

AND

  • Locates documents which contain both of the entered words or phrases. E.g. record AND sales

OR

  • Locates documents which contain any one of the entered words or phrases. E.g. team leader OR supervisor

NOT

  • Locates documents which contain the first word or phrase, but not the second. E.g. record NOT expense

XOR

  • Locates documents which contain either the first word or phrase, or the second, but not both. E.g. network XOR performance

EXCEPT

  • Locates documents that must contain the first search term but only if the second term is not in the same paragraph as the first. Both terms can appear in the document, just not in the same paragraph.

BUTNOT

  • The BUTNOT operator is an even more precise form of EXCEPT. The document must contain the first term, and it must not appear as part of the second term. For example, the query World BUTNOT World Bank will find documents that contain the word "World", and which may or may not contain "Bank", but will not find "World Bank" where it appears as a phrase. Similarly, Player BUTNO Media Player would find teh word "Player", but not where it occurs as part of the phrase "Media Player".

. . .

  • Locates documents where the first word or phrase is followed anywhere by the second. Both words or phrases may occur more than once, but the second one must occur after the first. E.g. legal brief ... Kramer vs Kramer

. .

  • Locates documents where the first word or phrase is followed by the second word or phrase. The words or phrases will be in pairs. E.g. legal brief .. Kramer vs Kramer

\\ or \x,y\

  • Both search terms must occur  within the specified number of paragraphs of each other. Placing a number between the lines indicates the number of paragraphs separating each term. 
    • No number between the \\ means the paragraphs must be consecutive.
    • Single number (e.g. \5\). Search terms must occur within 5 paragraphs of each other.
    • Number separated by comma (e.g. \5,10\). The second search term must appear within 5 to 10 paragraphs of each other.
    • Negative numbers (e.g. \-5, +10\) indicate the paragraphs may begin before the appearance of the term. That is, the second term may appear up to 5 paragraphs before and up to 10 after the first.

// or /x,y/

  • Both search terms must appear within the same paragraph. the order of appearance within the paragraph is not relevant. Placing a number between the lines indicates the number of words separating phrases. 
    • Single number (e.g. /5/ which can also be written as W/5). The two search terms must appear within five words of each other. Order of appearance is not relevant.
    • Number separated by comma (e.g. /5,10/). The search terms must appear in no fewer than 5 words and no more than 10 words of each other.
    • Negative numbers (e.g. /-5,+10/). The search terms may appear from 5 words before to 10 words after each other.

Special Symbols * ? ~

These special symbols change the meaning of the words entered in a query.

* or ?

  • The * symbol is a wildcard and can be used to search for any number of significant characters. Only one wildcard can be used per word.
  • The ? symbol can be used to search for exactly one character.
  • The * wildcard can be used at the beginning of a word. Note that the amount of time to complete the query will increase as the position of the * moves toward the beginning of the word.
  • The * wildcard can also be used on its own to select all documents in the database. Only the first word of each document will be highlighted.

~

  • The ~ symbol turns off word conflation. Type the ~ immediately following the word, do not include a space. You can also use the conflation operator at the beginning of a word, or at both ends of word to only search for that tense.