Power searching

Doing more in the 'simple' search box

We call the search box with the big green button, that appears near the top of most Trove pages, our 'simple' search option. You can just type in a few words, press the button, and away you go. But you can also build complex queries using this box and a number of special search terms.

There is a video on power searching here: 


The way the simple search box works in the newspapers zone is slightly different from the rest of Trove.

Construct complex searches using 'AND', 'OR' and 'NOT'

When you enter multiple keywords in the simple search box, Trove assumes that you want to find things that have all those words in them. It effectively puts an 'AND' between your keywords.

You can easily modify this behaviour by using 'AND', 'OR' and 'NOT' in your own queries. For example:

For best results, use brackets to enclose your search clauses. You can also use a minus sign next to a word in place of NOT:

Keep in mind, however, that these simple operators don't correspond exactly to the way Solr (our search index) constructs its queries. Find out exactly how Solr contructs queries.

Limit your search to a specific field, such as title or author

You can search a number of specific fields using the simple search box. For example, to search for items written by Mem Fox, try the following query: creator:(mem fox)

Fields you can search Example
creator creator:(Donald Norman) (includes authors, photographers, illustrators, editors, etc)
subject subject:(cognitive psychology)
title title:(short history of Australia)
isbn isbn:0333337352
issn issn:0810-8633
publictag publictag:(sydney)

nuc:QU (Items held by QU but not QU:NET)

nuc:QU:NET (Items held by QU:NET. Need to put a \ before the : )

nuc:QU* (Items held by QU, QU:NET and other NUCs starting with QU)

You can search more than one field at a time. For example: title:(heat) creator:(neil hargreaves)

You can also use 'AND', 'OR' and 'NOT' to structure your fielded search. For example: title:(heat) NOT creator:(neil hargreaves).

Search for a phrase

To search for your keywords as a phrase, rather than as separate words, simply enclose them in quotation marks. For example: “sydney harbour bridge”.

Be cautious when searching for people’s names in this way, as they could be recorded as either “Charles Dickens” or “Dickens, Charles”.

Search for an exact spelling

To help you find what you want, Trove applies a certain amount of fuzziness to its searches. So searching for Jackes would normally return results containing both Jackes and Jack (although Jackes would be considered more relevant).

To turn off the fuzziness and limit results to the exact spelling of your keywords, use the 'text:' modifier in the simple search box. For example:

Note that relevance ranking may not perform as well as usual using this search method.

Use a wildcard to broaden your search

You can use the wildcard symbol * in the simple search box to broaden your queries.

For example, to find either “mathematics tutorial” or “maths tutor” try:

You must provide at least three characters before adding the wildcard symbol.

Search for words near each other

As well as asking Trove to find things that contain your keywords, you can specify how close together the keywords should appear.

Just use the ~ (tilde) symbol in the simple search box to set the 'distance' between your keywords. For example: "pioneer australia"~2 will match items with 'pioneer' and 'australia' within two words of each other.

These types of searches are particularly useful for finding things like names.

Search for a tag

You can search for user-added tags in the simple search box. For example: publictag:LRRSA searches for the tag 'LRRSA'.

You can combine tag searching with other power searching techniques, for example: Raymond NOT publictag:"Alfred John Raymond".

You can also use wildcards, however, they will only match words at the start of tags: publictag:japan* (matches tags starting with 'Japan' or 'Japanese'). 

Search for items with comments or tags

Using the simple search box you can easily limit your results to items that have tags or comments attached to them. For example: 

You can also use 'NOT' to find items without tags or comments:

Limit your search to a date range

You can use the simple search box to limit your results to a certain date range. For example: