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Searching for Words and Phrases
Using Query Language
Searching Zones and Fields
Proximity Search Methods
Excluding Information

Searching for Words and Phrases

Your search can include words and phrases separated by a comma. By default, words and phrases in the query are stemmed, meaning the search is broadened to include the stemmed variations of these words.

The query below will search for the phrase "press releases" and stemmed variations of the word "wetlands":

press releases, wetlands

You may want to search for the word "wetlands" and not the word along with all of its stemmed variations. To do this, you just delimit the search term in double-quotation marks. For example, the following query will search for the phrase "Region 1" and the word "wetlands":

"Region 1", "wetlands"

If searching for chemical ID numbers like 83-32-9 you can get better results by leaving out the hyphens and submitting the search as 83 32 9.

Note that searches are not case-sensitive by default. This means you can use "Region 1" or "region 1" in the above examples and get the same search results.

Using Query Language

You can use operators and modifiers to apply logic to your query and pinpoint the exact information you are interested in. Popular operators are: AND, OR, and NEAR. A modifier can be used with an operator to further define your question for the search engine. Frequently-used modifiers are: MANY and NOT. By default, the words "and," "or," and "not" are interpreted as query language; all other query language elements, such as the NEAR operator, are interpreted as words unless surrounded by angle brackets. Sample query expressions using query language are below.

The AND operator selects documents that contain all of the search elements you specify. To find documents that contain both "Region 1" and at least one stemmed variation of the word "wetlands" you can use the following query:

"Region 1" and wetlands

The OR operator selects documents that show evidence of at least one of the search elements. To find documents that contain either "Region 1" or at least one stemmed variation of the word "wetlands" you can use the following query:

"Region 1" or wetlands

Searching Zones and Fields

Zones and Fields can be searched to help narrow a search set or to retrieve specific types of documents. The collection administrator defines the zones and fields that are available on the EPA search engine and many of these have been created to elicit customized search results for specific document types on the EPA Web site.

Zones

Zones are specific regions of a document to which searches can be limited. Using the zone filter, the Verity search engine builds zone information into the collection's full-word index, which allows quick and efficient searches over zones.

To search for a term in a specific zone, the operator is used. For example, to search for a URL that contains the word "water", type:

water <IN> URL_ZONE

Most zones are defined by tags found in the HTML code of a web page. Below is a list of potentially useful zones used on the EPA Web site.

ZONE

DESCRIPTION

AREA_ZONE

Metatag field which indicates the Lotus Notes database from which a dynamically generated web page is created.

BLOCKQUOTE

HTML tag used to create block quotes, or indented text.

BODY

HTML tag used to indicate the main body of text on a web page.

CAPTION

HTML tag used to display a caption or title either directly above or below a table.

CITE

HTML style element indicating text that is used as a citation. It is usually rendered as italic text.

CODE

HTML style element indicating text that is a sample of computer code. It is usually rendered with a fixed-width font.

DESCRIPTION_ZONE

Metatag field used to provide a brief summary description of a web page.

FORM

HTML element used to delimit the range of data fields for a form on a web page.

GROUP_ZONE

Eight (8) character code (TSSMS) that indicates the specific office or division of EPA responsible for a web page.

H1

HTML tag that identifies a Level 1 Heading.

H2

HTML tag that identifies a Level 2 Heading.

H3

HTML tag that identifies a Level 3 Heading.

H4

HTML tag that identifies a Level 4 Heading.

H5

HTML tag that identifies a Level 5 Heading.

H6

HTML tag that identifies a Level 6 Heading.

HEAD

Top level element which encapsulates information about the HTML document.

KEYWORDS_ZONE

Metatag field used to provide keywords that describe the content of a web page.

NAME_ZONE

Name of individual who last updated a web page.

STYLE

HTML element used in the document HEAD section to indicate style information for the entire document.

TEXTAREA

HTML tag that indicates a multi-line text entry field (used on forms).

TITLE

HTML tag indicating the title of the web page.

URL_ZONE

The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) which uniquely identifies the web page and its location.

Fields

Fields are extracted from the document and stored in the collection for retrieval and searching, and can be returned on a results list. Many commercial word processor applications include fields that can be searched.

A region of text must first be defined as a zone in order to be a field. Depending on how an administrator has defined the collection, a region of text can be only a zone, or it can be both a field and a zone.

To search for a term in a specific field, the operator is used. For example, to search for the word "water" in the HTML meta data keywords, type:

Keywords <CONTAINS> water

Many of the fields defined for the EPA Web site provide information about file attributes, as well as content. Below is a list of potentially useful fields used on the EPA Web site.

FIELD

DESCRIPTION

AUTHOR

Metatag field that indicates the author of the document file.

AREA

Metatag field which indicates the Lotus Notes database from which a dynamically generated web page is created.

COMMENTS

Metatag field used to provide author comments.

CREATED

Date the file was created.

DATE

Last date the file was modfied or created.

DESCRPITION

Metatag field used to provide a brief summary description of a web page.

GROUP

Eight (8) character code (TSSMS) that indicates the specific office or division of EPA responsible for a web page.

KEYWORDS

Metatag field used to provide keywords that describe the content of a web page.

MIME-TYPE

Software application file type. Indexed file types on the EPA Web site include: application/pdf, text/plain, and application/html.

MODIFIED

Last date the file was modfied or created.

NAME

User name of file owner.

SIZE

File size in bytes.

SNIPPET

The first 400 printable characters of a document.

SUBJECT

Field that indicates the subject matter of the file.

TITLE

HTML tag indicating the title of the web page.

URL

The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) which uniquely identifies the web page and its location.

Proximity Search Methods

There are several search methods for doing proximity searches. A proximity search looks for documents containing search terms within close proximity of each other. The following operators enable proximity search methods: NEAR, PHRASE, SENTENCE, PARAGRAPH.

The NEAR operator selects documents containing specified search terms within close proximity to each other. Document scores are calculated based on the relative number of words between search terms; the closer the search terms, the higher the score. To find documents that contain the phrase "Region 1" and stemmed variations of the word "wetlands" within close proximity to each other, you can use this query:

"Region 1"<NEAR>wetlands

The SENTENCE and PARAGRAPH operators are used to specify a search within a sentence or paragraph. The syntax for using these operators is similar. To find documents that contain the phrase "Region 1" and stemmed variations of the word "wetlands" within the same paragraph, you can use this query:

"Region 1"<PARAGRAPH>wetlands

 

Excluding Information

Want to exclude something from a search? That's what the NOT modifier does. For example, to find documents containing stemmed variations of the words "ORD" and "pesticide" in close proximity to each other, but not stemmed variations of the word "water", you enter this query:

ORD<NEAR>pesticide<AND> <NOT>water

 

 
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