Search Tips

The search is case insensitive, except for operators, such as AND, NOT, and OR, which must be upper case. Note: The "right-mouse, save target as" option is always available from our html pages. For speed and accessibility, it is recommended on files noted as 5.0 mb and larger.

Basic Search

A single term search involves a single word such as "geology" or "sandstone" (without the quotation marks).

A phrase search is a group of words inside double quotes such as "Trenton River".

Expanded Search

A search may be expanded by use of the OR operator (e.g., sandstone OR sand). The result will be a list of those articles that contain either or both terms.

Restricted Search

To restrict a search in order to ensure that the desired article(s) are among a limited number of articles comprising the Search Results use the AND operator (e.g., Eocene AND delta), thereby requiring that both words are included in each document comprising the list, but not as consecutive words. Another way is to use the NOT operator (e.g., field NOT gas) to exclude the latter word.

Proximity Searches

This site supports finding words that are within a specific distance away, up to 10 words. To do a proximity search, use the tilde("~") symbol at the end of the phrase. For example, to search for "Jurassic" and "Cretaceous" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search: "Jurassic Cretaceous" ~10.


Two wildcards are available on this site: The * symbol acts as a multiple character wildcard: petrol* will match petroleum, petroliferous, etc. The ? symbol acts as a single character wildcard: m?d will match words like mud, med, mid.

Other Boolean Operator

The "+" operator, also called the required operator, requires that the term after the "+" symbol exist somewhere in the field of a single document. For example, to search for documents that must contain "Cretaceous" and may contain “ammonites” use the query: +Cretaceous ammonites.

Fuzzy Searches

This site supports fuzzy searches based on the Levenshtein Distance, or Edit Distance algorithm. To do a fuzzy search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Single Word Term. For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to "paleontology" use the fuzzy search. paleontology~ will find words such as micropaleontology, palaeontology, and paleontologists. An additional (optional) parameter can specify the required similarity. The value is between 0 and 1 (if not specified 0.5 is used), with a value closer to 1, only terms with a higher similarity will be matched. For example paleontology~0.8.