Word or Phrase Search Overview
Poor Word Search - Click to see image
people, when performing a word search, type in as much information
as possible. The
result is a search that might look something like the one in
figure 11. Unfortunately,
this search will yield zero results (and others like it will yield
very few). Often,
this causes people to think that eHRAF does not have the
information they want, when this is far from true.
By following a few rules, your searches will be much more
searches for the exact word or phrase you type in.
Thus, if you search for the word “mythology” you will
miss instances of “myth,” “myths,” and “mythologies”
as well as synonyms like “legend” or “folklore.”
One way to help the situation is to shorten the word and
add and asterisk. Thus,
searching for “myth*” will find all the variations on that
word. As for the
Use different boxes for each synonym.
searching with “myth*” will not find “legend” or
“folklore,” these are good words to put in the other text
boxes. However, be
sure to set the Boolean operators to “or” so you aren’t
searching for a paragraph/title that contains all three words.
Again, be sure to truncate all of your words.
Search titles for broad topics, paragraphs for narrow ones
section of the search, there is a drop-down box that lets you
choose between “titles” and “paragraphs.”
Generally, when you are searching for a broad topic like
“myths,” it is best to start with a title search.
This searches all of the chapter and sub-chapter titles in
every document. Paragraph
searches are better for narrower searches, as they will list every
paragraph that contains the word separately, rather than the
entire chapter or section.
Don’t use the word search for culture groups or regions.
mentioned earlier, most of the documents in eHRAF are ethnographies,
and thus cover only one culture, so searching for “Native
Americans” will be ineffective.
It is better to search for a specific culture using the Culture/OWC
search section. Further,
it is also not effective to search for a geographical region like
“northwestern plains.” In
an ethnography on the Blackfoot, it is not likely that the exact
phrase “northwestern plains” will be mentioned once or twice
in the whole book, if at all. This means you are not likely to get any results where both
“myth” and “northwestern plains” are mentioned in the same
paragraph. Again, it
is more effective to search for a specific culture rather than for
the area where it can be found.
the documents in eHRAF date to the 1920s and earlier, meaning they predate many words or phrases common in
today's language. For example, the term "domestic
violence" and the word "revitalization" are both
relatively recent additions to our lexicon and therefore fail to
have many matches in the eHRAF database.
Better Word Search - Click to see image
following these rules, you end up with a search like that in
figure 12, that gives you 27 matches in 10 documents on the
clicking on the culture name, you see a list of the matching
chapter titles (fig 13). From
there, you can select a chapter to read its full text.
However, though word searches are convenient, there is a
way to get many more high-quality results: using OCM
Chapter Title Matches - Click to see image
on "Search, then in “Exact word or phrase” type in “myth*”,
“legend*”, and “folk*” in the three text boxes.
Set all of the Boolean operators to “or” and search in
the search button.
Blackfoot under North America, noticing that there are 27 matches
in 10 documents with this search.
a chapter to view its contents.
Terms: Ethnography, OCM Subject