Help On

Verity Search

Here are some quick tips to get you started:

Simple Searches

Simple searches are queries that consist of a single word or phrase.

Examples of Simple Searches
Search Term Finds Pages That Contain
lung The string lung and stemmed variations, such as lungs, lungworm
"lung" The word lung
"A&B" The strings A&B,A & B, and A B (always enclose words like A&B in double quotation marks)
MCHC The string MCHCin upper case
infectious disease The phrase infectious diseases
infection* Words beginning with the string infection
Inf??ion Words beginning with Inf and ending with ion with any two characters in between
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Searching with Phrases

The Verity search engine interprets any string of characters separated by spaces as a phrase.

Tip Be careful of phrase searches that contain the following words because they are operators in the Verity Query Language:

  • And: interpreted as the Verity Query Language AND operator
  • Or: interpreted as the Verity Query Language OR operator
  • Not: interpreted as the Verity Query Language NOT modifier

You can still search for phrases containing these words if you enclose them in double quotation marks.

1. Using Wildcards
You can use wildcard characters if you are not sure of the spelling of your search term to expand your search:

2. Combining Search Terms
You can combine search terms using Verity Query Language operators and modifiers to refine your searches.

Examples of Combining Search Terms
Search Term Finds Pages That Contain
lung OR liver Any of the words lung, or liver
infection AND inflammation All of the words infection, and inflammation
cough, bronchitis, pneumonia Any of the words cough, bronchitis, and pneumonia. The more instances of these words in a page, the higher it appears in the results list.
cough NOT pneumonia The word cough but not the word pneumonia
bronchitis <near> pneumonia The word bronchitis close to the word pneumonia
bronchitis <sentence> pneumonia The word bronchitis in the same sentence as the word pneumonia
cough <paragraph> pneumonia The word cough in the same paragraph as the word pneumonia
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Broadening Searches

Sometimes a simple search produces a disappointing results list. The query may not locate any matching documents, the results list may be too short, or the documents in the results list may not contain the information you are looking for. In these instances, you may need to broaden your search in order to retrieve a more promising results list.

OR Operator
If your simple search has not produced a useful results list, you may have used the wrong term in your query. To increase the chances of finding a document that matches your query, you can use the OR operator with many synonymous or closely related terms.
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Refining Searches

In many instances, a search produces a results list that is far too long to skim for the information you seek. You can narrow down a search by combining search terms with the AND or ACCRUE operators. In effect, these operators impose more stringent conditions that documents must fulfill in order to appear in the results list.

1. AND Operator
The AND operator finds pages that match all terms in the query. If any of the search terms is not contained in a document, that document does not appear in the results list.

2. ACCRUE Operator
The ACCRUE operator finds pages that match any terms in the query. When the ACCRUE operator is used, the Verity search engine calculates the number of times that the terms appear in the document. The more instances found, the higher the document appears in the results list.

The syntax for the ACCRUE operator is a sequence of search terms separated by commas.

3. Excluding Terms From Searches
If you have used a term with more than one meaning in a query, you may generate a results list with documents that are not relevant to your search even though they match the query term.

4. NOT Modifier
To exclude irrelevant documents from a search, you can use the NOT modifier as part of the query.
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Proximity Searching

You can focus a search more closely by using Verity Query Language operators to retrieve documents that contain the search terms in close proximity to each other: that is, near each other, in the same sentence, or in the same paragraph. The operators for proximity searching are NEAR, SENTENCE, and PARAGRAPH.

NEAR Operator
The NEAR operator finds pages matching specified search terms within close proximity to each other. The closer the search terms are to each other, the higher the document appears in the results list. SENTENCE and PARAGRAPH Operators

The SENTENCE and PARAGRAPH operators are used to specify a search within a sentence and paragraph. The syntax for using these operators is similar.

Note Most Verity Query Language operators and modifiers must be enclosed within angle brackets (<>) to distinguish them from the actual query term. The words AND , OR , and NOT are always treated as Verity Query Language operators unless they are enclosed within double quotation marks.

Stemmed Words
When you submit a single word query, the Verity search engine finds documents that not only match the term you entered, but also stemmed variations of the term.

Tip You can always restrict the search to the term itself by enclosing it in double quotation marks.

Always use double quotation marks to enclose terms that include unusual characters like the ampersand in S&L. The Verity search engine automatically expands the search to include variations of the term with and without the unusual character.

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Advanced Search Tips

You can use the Verity Query Language search for terms that contain punctuation marks. You can also nest query terms within other query terms to build precise queries.

Examples of Advanced Search Techniques
Search Term Finds Pages That Contain
lung/liver cancer The phrase lung/liver cancer
patient\*s privacy The phrase patient*s privacy
c:\\files The string c:\files
inflammation OR skin AND rash Stemmed variations of skin and rash on the same page or stemmed variations of inflammation
(inflammation OR skin) AND rash Stemmed variations of inflammation or skin and stemmed variations of rash 
((inflammation OR rash) AND skin) OR swelling) Stemmed variations of inflammation or rash and stemmed variations of skin on the same page or stemmed variations of swelling

 

Punctuation Marks in Queries
Any character without special meaning in the Verity Query Language can be entered anywhere in a query.

The following characters have special meaning in the Verity Query Language.
Character Description
, ( ) [ These characters end a text token.
= > < ! These characters end a text token because they signify the start of a field operator (! is special: != ends a token).
* @ ` < { [ ! These characters signify the start of a delimited token, which are terminated by the end character associated with the start character.

To search for a string that contains one of these characters, precede the character with a backslash.

Tip To search for a string that contains a backslash character, enter two backslash characters.

Rules for Interpreting Queries
In general, the Verity Search Engine reads your query from right to left, processing each search string and operator action in turn to produce a results list of matches. Some operators carry more weight than others, however, which may affect the interpretation of your query.

In the Verity Query Language, the AND operator takes precedence over the OR operator. Search strings linked by the AND operator are processed before search strings linked by the OR operator.

Tip To ensure that the OR operator is interpreted first, you can enclose the search strings linked by the OR operator in parentheses as a nested query.

Nested Queries
You can enclose search terms and their operators in parentheses to specify the order that they are interpreted. Information within parentheses is read first, then information outside parentheses is read next.

Nested Parentheses
If there are nested parentheses, the search engine processes the innermost parenthetical expression first, then the next, and so on until the entire query is interpreted.

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Having Problems?

If you are having problems using the search feature, please review the information on this page to make sure that you are specifying your search criteria correctly. If you still need assistance or find problems with this search site, please write to mededweb@virginia.edu.

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