The most powerful capability that computers bring to the huge amount of information possible on a CD/DVD-ROM is the previously impossible ability to index and search for every word (except for a few very common words such as the, and, etc.)
You initiate a search by entering a search phrase in the entry window above the topic display.

Type of searching

There are two buttons that select the type of searching that you wish to do. Searching for phrases -- a phrase being a series of words separated by spaces, such as "JOHN SMITH"-- requires that you enter the phrase in double quotes for correct searching (just as shown.) Selecting the [Simple] button does this for you. If you want to do more sophisticated queries, described below, you have to select the [Complex] option.

Displaying search hits

After you enter a search query, the system will rapidly calculate the number of hits satisfying your query and give you the option to cancel if there are more than 500 hits. If you complete the query, the lower left hand tree display window will show the books containing the topics with your hits. The system will automatically jump to the first topic found. (No hits will show a message.) Press the [>> Hit] button to go the next hit in either the topic or to the next topic containing the hit. Naturally [<< Hit] will go to the previous search hit.

You can re-fill the tree listing with the last search hit by pressing either of the top two items in the book index; last search (by volume) and  last search (flat list). Displaying by volume is less cluttered because topics are listed beneath books. A "flat list" includes the book information on every line.

With a list of topics displayed you can double click on one of them and it will display the topic in the right display window.

Boolean Operators

Searches can include so-called "boolean operators." This is a fancy name for the ability to use NOT, AND, OR, and NEAR in your search expression. For example, to find all occurances of INDIANA near the word KIMBALL, you'd enter:


This will find all topics that contain the word INDIANA near the word KIMBALL. The exact number of words apart (at most) is determined by setting a variable under the General Options menu item.

By contrast, INDIANA AND KIMBALL would search for all topics that contain both INDIANA and KIMBALL anywhere in the topic. This is where breaking entire books apart into manageable topics, such as individual reports, is very useful. Otherwise, the range of AND would have to be, perhaps, an entire book, which would be almost worthless.
INDIANA OR KIMBALL would find all topics that contain either INDIANA or KIMBALL.
INDIANA NOT KIMBALL would find all topics that contain INDIANA but not KIMBALL.

Search expressions can be combined for more complex searches by using parentheses. For example:

would find all topics containing INDIANA but not KIMBALL or MORTON.

Special Search Fields

Certain ROMs, such as The Civil War CD-ROM, have the unique capability to search specifically for special fields. The Civil War CD-ROM for example has the following fields defined:

• Report date
• The signer of a document
• The addressee of a document
• The greeting of a document

To search, for example, for all topics dated exactly May 7, 1863, you would enter as a search phrase:


You can enter a search range as well. For all reports between December 21, 1862 and January 3, 1863:

REPDATE(12/21/1862 thru 1/3/1863)

would be the phrase.

The report date can be combined with AND and OR as well. For example to find all topics containing reports dated between 1/1/1863 and 2/1/1863 inclusive that mention FORREST, you would enter:

REPDATE(1/1/1863 thru 2/1/1863) AND FORREST

Note that REPDATE does not work in conjunction with the NEAR operator.

To search specifically for signers of documents, you would enter:


For example, to find all documents signed by a BASSETT you would enter:


To search specifically for addressees of documents (in the OR, the name appearing directly after the signer):


And to search in the greeting field, you would use:


It can be particularly useful to combine SIGNER with ADDRESSEE or GREETING. For example:


with NEAR set to 300, would find all occurances of documents signed by GRANT within 300 words of SHERMAN as the recipient. Keep in mind that this can easily be different reports; however, it's still a useful way to find pieces of correspondence from one person to another.

Limited searching

You can limit, or constrain, a search to only a part of the entire database. This has the advantages of reducing search time and focusing your search to an area more likely to be of interest.

You can constrain the search in several ways.

The first method is to select the books that you want to include in your search. This is easily done by clicking on the books list in the upper left scrolling window. (Press the <CTRL> key while clicking to preserve existing selections.) You can clear all selections by pressing the button next to the window, which will make the search unlimited once again.

The second method is to select a folder in your bookmark list (in the Bookmark dialog boxhelp_research):

This permits pinpoint precision searching of only topics that you select. The power of this method is that you can build up lists of topics on various subjects of interest and constrain your searches only to those topics, very easily. Note that all lower folders in the selected folder are added for searching as well.
You can add entire books to your bookmark list as well. Pressing the [+Sel to Marks] button (see picture above) will take any selected books and add them to your current bookmarks. This way you can combine both entire books and individual topics in one integrated search.

You may not constrain the search by both books and folders at the same time.