University of Minnesota


General Instructions

Type key words in the box, check the sites you want searched, then click "Go Search!"
You can either check any number of individual sites or use the "Select All" button to check them all.
By default, a list of words will be combined by "AND".
Most sites allow you to over-ride the default operator "AND" by using your own operators. For example, if you type in NAFTA OR EUROPEAN TRADE UNION, this will search for hits with either word rather than only hits with both words.
Most sites allow the following options:

Boolean operators

and Boolean AND logic operator. Searches for records containing both of the words it separates.

or Boolean OR logic operator. Searches for records containing either of the words it separates.

not Boolean NOT logic operator. Searches for records containing the query word preceding it without containing the word following it.

Proximity operators

near NEAR operator. Functions as bi-directional proximity operator if word range (e.g. deficit near/3 spending) is specified. If no word range is specified, functions as bi-directional adjacency operator.

adj Adjacency operator. Searches for records in which the query word that follows it appears immediately after the word preceding it.

w/n Proximity operator. Searches for word pairs in which the pair's second term occurs within a specified number of words after the first. Example: amphibian W/5 DNA finds records in which DNA occurs within five words after amphibian.

Truncation operators

? Wildcard operator for a single character; matches any one character.

* Wildcard operator for strings; matches any string. Examples: micro* matches microscope, microcomputer; *late matches relate, translate.

+ Stemming operator; forces a word stem. Example: run+ finds run, runs, and running.

# Exact match operator; forces an exact word match. Example: run# finds run, but not runs or running.

Advanced Searching Tips

Some sites combine more complex search abilities. Click the hyper linked name of the site for advance search capabilities.

Click the "Tips" hyper link next to the site name to go to that site's specific help instructions.

Tips for Users With Slow (or Expensive) Internet Connections

If you have a slow connection to the internet, you may find that you cannot search all sites at once and only have a few (3-5) sites return hits at a time.  This is because your browser will time out and stop receiving information after a certain period of time (usually 3-5 minutes).  In this case, only check 3-5 sites at a time and run multiple searches down the list in order to hit all of the sites.

If you select more sites than can be returned to your browser, when you return to a previously generated results page, you will be prompted to "Repost Form Data?".  If you see this message and click "Yes", your previously used criteria will be generated again.  If you click "No" you must return to the main search page to run another search.

In order to maximize a slow and expensive Internet connection, you may want to print your results page for review once you have disconnected.  Run a couple of searches, printing the results of each search.  Then you can review your results off-line and return to only the sites that gave you the results you were looking for.  Rather than print a results page, you can save the file locally by clicking "File", "Save As" on your browser toolbar.  Save the HTML file on your local hard drive.  You can examine it later by choosing "File", "Open", "Browse" from you browser toolbar even if you are disconnected from the Internet.  However, you must reconnect to the Internet in order to use any of the links and view the actual document.

In general, BE PATIENT.  Each search engine that you check will be run sequentially.  This may mean that a single search may take up to 5 minutes.

* University of Minnesota Human Rights Meta Search Engine

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