Searching in ClassWeb
Contents


Introduction
All ClassWeb search screens provide multiple access points and support both index browsing (which is very fast and displays records in access point order) and real queries (not quite as fast and the results are not sorted, but they are limited to those records that match your criteria). In general, with the exception of the Keyword access points (when they are available), entering your search criteria into only one of the input boxes and pressing Enter (or clicking on the Search button), will perform an index browse. The records will be sorted according to the access point you are using and the first record in the display will be the closest match to your search term. From there, you can page backwards and forwards in the database -- you have access to all records and not just those that matched your search term. If you prefer, you can force a query to be run by checking either the basic query or boolean query search options before submitting your search request.

If there is a Keyword access point and you input one or more words into the Keyword box, or if you input values into any two or more access points or check either the basic query or boolean query search options, ClassWeb will run a regular query. While browse results are returned instantly, a real query may take a few seconds (or even minutes, depending on the search). Also, query results are not returned in any particular sequence, although they tend to be in record number order.

ClassWeb supports truncation searching (you just input a partial search term), boolean (AND, OR and NOT) and mathematical (less than, greater than, etc.) operations, and wild-card characters (? matches any single character and * matches multiple characters). In addition, all keyword access points support phrase and proximity searches.

Note: All ClassWeb search screens include a section of tips and additional options that are kept hidden until you click on the Search tips and options link located under the input boxes.
Tip: Use the Reset button to clear the search screen whenever you want to start a new search.


Forcing a Query
If you would prefer to run a real query instead of browsing an index when you only have one search criteria, click on either the basic query or boolean query search options before submitting your search request. You must click on the Search tips and options link first and choose one of the following query options:

Run a browse, basic query or boolean query (requires quotes around your search terms).
Reminder: When using boolean mode, you must surround your search terms with quotation marks.


Pass-through Options
Many of the options that you select on a given ClassWeb page (like the number of records to return at a time) are passed from screen to screen as you navigate through the system. To reset these values to the defaults for your account, return to any menu and proceed from there. Note that this will only affect the current window or browser tab and that any additional windows or tabs that you have open will continue to use their existing settings.


Punctuation, Accents and Case
In order to improve its search results, ClassWeb normalizes all search data to remove certain characters and modify others. Accent marks, and upper and lower case distinctions are ignored. This process is also applied to your search criteria (for example, to locate François, you can input the name that way or just type francois). The normalization process includes:

  • Removing all leading and trailing spaces.
  • Converting all hyphens to a space.
  • Converting multiple spaces into a single space.
  • Removing all punctuation and symbols.
  • Ignoring all accent marks.
  • Ignoring all upper and lower case distinctions.
Note: Because of the normalization process, it is not possible to search for punctuation, accent marks or upper vs lower case letters.


Truncation
Truncation support is the default setting for all ClassWeb searches. It means that any search terms you enter are the truncated version of what you are looking for (i.e. rail will match railroad and railway). Some systems refer to this as a stem search. If you do not want to match alternate word endings, you can change this setting on any search screen by clicking on the Search tips and options link and selecting the Exact match option before you run your search. Like so:

Exact match (don't perform a truncation search that returns alternate word endings).

When truncation support is enabled, it affects every word in a keyword search (including each word in a phrase) and every phrase in all other search criteria.

Note: ClassWeb does not make special allowances for words that have different spellings from what you type in. For example, the search term salary will not match the word salaries, even in a truncation search. The solution is to search for the common root of all of the words you want to find. So, for example, you might use salar to match salary, salaried and salaries.


Wild-Card Characters
Two wild-card characters are supported by ClassWeb: the asterisk (*) and the question mark (?). An asterisk matches zero or more characters and a question mark matches exactly one character. Placing an asterisk after each of your search terms is equivalent to running a truncation search.


Basic Query
To run a basic query, enter your criteria into the appopriate input boxes and press Enter or click on the Search button. If you are only inputting one search term, you may need to check the basic query search option to force the system to run a query. Once your search results are returned, you can
navigate through them and use the links available after each record to delve further. The remainder of this section and the following section (Boolean Query) give more information on running queries.

AND vs OR Searches
When running a query (either because you input multiple search terms, multiple keywords, or selected a basic or boolean query), the default behavior for ClassWeb is to return only those records that meet all of your search criteria. Alternately, you can search for those records that meet any of your requirements. To enable this feature, click on the Search tips and options link and select the button that says any matching term. Like so:

Find all matching terms (AND search) or any matching term (OR search).

If your criteria includes multiple keywords or phrases and you select any matching term, then any of those words or phrases can cause a record to be a match.


Boolean Query
To run any of the searches in this section, you must turn on the Boolean search features of ClassWeb. This is done by clicking on the Search tips and options link and selecting the button that says boolean query. Like so:

Run a browse, basic query or boolean query (requires quotes around your search terms).

Boolean Query Options
Even though boolean mode allows you to create boolean expressions within a search field, the relationship between search fields is still controlled by the all or any search options. The default setting is all which means that all of the individual search fields must be true for a record to match. Within a single search field, you can still use an OR operator. Alternately, you can search for those records that meet any of your search criteria. See
below for an example. To change the all or any feature or simply to check what it is set to, click on the Search tips and options link. By default it will look like this (an AND search):

Find all matching terms (AND search) or any matching term (OR search).

Inputting a Boolean Query
All boolean queries require a little more effort on your part. Every search term must be surrounded by quotation marks and if you input more than one search term in any input box, you must include one of the following boolean operators between each term (in addition to this list, keyword input boxes can also use any of the
proximity operators):

OperatorMeaningPrecedence
()Parentheses7
>Greater than4
>=Greater than or equal to4
<Less than4
<=Less than or equal to4
=Equal to3
!=Not equal to3
andLogical AND2
orLogical OR1

A boolean query is input as a series of words or phrases connected by boolean operators. You may use parentheses to insure the proper meaning of your search criteria. In general, a boolean expression is evaluated from left to right. However, the OR operator has a lower prececence than any of the other operators and sometimes requires parentheses to achieve the proper results. If in doubt, use parentheses.

Boolean Query Examples
All of the following examples assume that boolean query mode has already been selected.

Example #1
In this example, a non-keyword access point (Caption) is being checked for one of two values in addition to a keyword search for either one of two words (the words can come from anywhere in the record):

 Input Field  Input Value 
 Caption"statistics" or "finance" 
 Keyword"administration" or "insurance" 

The outcome of this query will depend on whether you have chosen the AND or OR search option, as described above. The AND and OR option controls the relationship between these fields. If AND is selected, a record will have to have either of these two captions AND either of these two keywords. If OR is selected, a record must either have one of these captions OR one of these keywords in order to be a match.

Example #2
Here is an example using boolean logic and mathematical operations:

 Input Field  Input Value 
 Classification number(>= "KJ" and < "KJU") or (>= "KKE" and < "KL") 

This is the query that is used for the KJ-KKZ  subset (European Law). It illustrates how parentheses can be used to insure the proper grouping of search terms and the use of mathematical operators. Note that if mathematical operators are used, they must be placed immediately before the search term. If you don't use a mathematical operator, EQUALS (=) is assumed.


Command and Navigation Buttons
The following buttons are common to all search screens.

ButtonAction
After you have filled in one or more fields with your search criteria, you can either press the Enter key or click on the Search button to start the search.
Clears all input fields as well as any current search results but remembers your display and search options from the bottom of the screen.
Logs you out of ClassWeb.
Closes the current window or tab. ClassWeb can only close those windows or tabs it has opened for you. If you click on the Close button and nothing happens, it is because this window or tab was opened by hand and must be closed manually.
Jumps to the ClassWeb main menu.
Opens this help page in a separate window or tab.
Returns the first page of records in access point order (when browsing) or record number order (when querying).
Returns the previous page of records in access point order (when browsing) or record number order (when querying).
Returns the next page of records in access point order (when browsing) or record number order (when querying).
Returns the last page of records in access point order (when browsing) or record number order (when querying).

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