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Sample Searches

Sample Searches for Poetry, Drama and Prose Fiction Collections

Sample Searches for ABELL

Sample Searches for the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB)

Sample Searches for Poetry, Drama and Prose Fiction Collections

Keyword and Phrase Searches

Example 1 (Poetry, Drama and Prose Fiction)

To find works containing the word monstrous using any collection of poetry, drama or fictional prose:

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button
  • Type monstrous in the Keyword(s) search box (this field is variously described as 'Keyword(s) in Poem', 'Keyword(s) in Play' or 'Keyword(s) in Work' according to the genre of the collection you are searching)
  • Click the select from a list >> link to the right of the Keyword(s) search field to open the Keyword List page (variously described as 'Keyword in Poem List', 'Keyword in Play List' and 'Keyword in Work List'), which offers an alphabetical list of all words appearing in the database
  • On the Keyword List page, check the boxes alongside the word monstrous and any other terms that you wish to include in your search (you may wish to include variant forms of monstrous such as monstruous and monstrus when searching Early English Prose Fiction, for example)
  • On the Keyword List page, click the Select button to enter your selections in the Keyword(s) field
  • On the Search screen, click the Search button
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first occurrence of your search term in the text you have chosen

Tip: all searches are exact searches (unless you use either the single-character or truncation wildcard, ? or *), so a search for the keyword monstrous alone will not pick up any occurrences of the words such as monstruous or monstrus if these appear in the database you are searching. See also Old Spellings and Typographical Variants for additional tips on searching older texts.

Example 2 (Poetry, Drama and Prose Fiction)

To find works containing the phrase civil war using any collection of poetry, drama or fictional prose:

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • Type civil war or "civil war" in the Keyword(s) search box (this search field is variously described as 'Keyword(s) in Poem', 'Keyword(s) in Play' or 'Keyword(s) in Work' according to the genre of the collection you are searching) making sure you enclose the phrase with double quotation marks
  • Click the Search button
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first occurrence of your search term in the text you have chosen

Tip: you only need to use quotation marks when searching for phrases containing the words and, or, not or near (phrases such as "to be or not to be", "weep or mourn" or "time and tide"). All of the Chadwyck-Healey literature collections treat the words and, or, not or near as Boolean and Proximity Operators unless they form part of a phrase enclosed in quotation marks.

Example 3 (Drama)

To find plays featuring characters who are heiresses using any of the drama collections (American Drama 1714–1915, English Drama or Twentieth-Century Drama):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • If you are searching Twentieth-Century Drama, click the Advanced search options >> link
  • In the Keyword(s) in Play search box, type heiress
  • In the Limit Keyword To: drop-down menu at the bottom of the search screen, select 'Castlists only' from the menu that has 'Whole plays and associated text' as the default entry
  • Click the Search button to execute your search
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first occurrence of your search term in the text you have chosen

This search will retrieve occurrences of the word heiress in cast and character lists. It provides an instant list of characters falling into this category, such as Dora Sunnyside ('Only Daughter and Heiress to Sunnyside, a Southern Belle') from Dion Boucicault's The Octoroon (1866?) in American Drama 1714–1915, Miranda ('An Heiress, worth Thirty Thousand Pound, really in Love with Sir George, but pretends to be so with her Guardian Sir Francis') from Susanna Centlivre's The Busie Body: A Comedy (1709) in English Drama, and Portia Contarini ('an heiress of Venice') from Arnold Wesker's The Merchant in Twentieth-Century Drama.

Vary your search by looking for other types of character appropriate to the collection you are searching, using such keywords and search expressions as gentleman, priest, chorus, agent, slave, fool, coxcomb, errand boy, vampire, foreigner (or foreign*), waif, rake, pander OR pimp, curtezan OR courtesan, detective, shrew, Pride, Gluttonie, etc.

Example 4 (Poetry)

To find poems that have been written for a particular purpose or read at a particular occasion using any of the poetry collections (Twentieth-Century African American Poetry, Twentieth-Century American Poetry, Twentieth-Century English Poetry, English Poetry, English Poetry, Second Edition, African American Poetry, American Poetry or Canadian Poetry):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button (or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary)
  • In the Keyword(s) in Poem search box, type read at or written for (or, alternatively, type "read at" or "written for" to retrieve both sets of results together from a single search)
  • In the Limit Keyword To: drop-down menu at the bottom of the search screen, select 'Notes only' (if the poetry collection you are using has two Limit Keyword to: drop-down menus, 'Notes only' will appear in the second menu)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first occurrence of your search term in the text you have chosen
  • The red hit marker for the first hit should appear adjacent to a Footnote icon, which can be clicked to access the full text of the note matching your search term

Example 5 (Prose Fiction)

To find narratives by female authors invoking the concept of masculinity using any collection of prose fiction (Early English Prose Fiction, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Early American Fiction 1789–1850 or Early American Fiction 1789–1875):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button (or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary)
  • In the Keyword(s) in Work search box, type masculin* (or use the Select from a list >> link to select particular forms specific to the database you are searching, as in Example 1 above)
  • Use the Gender drop-down menu to select 'Female authors'
  • Click the Search button to execute your search
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first occurrence of your search term in the text you have chosen

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Boolean and Proximity Operators

Boolean Operators

Example 6 (Poetry, Drama and Prose Fiction)

To find passages of text in poems, plays and works of prose fiction that refer to the wearing of masks (using any literature collection):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button (or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary)
  • Type his mask or her mask or its mask or the mask or a mask or your mask or my mask or our mask in the Keyword(s) search box (this field is variously described as 'Keyword(s) in Poem', 'Keyword(s) in Play' or 'Keyword(s) in Work' according to the genre of the collection you are searching)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first match for your search term in the text you have chosen

This search will tend to retrieve passages of text in which mask is used as a noun, either literally (as in '[He] takes a gold hair-pin from her head, and with it marks her face through the mask', a stage direction from George Almar's play The Tower of Nesle; or, The Chamber of Death, in English Drama) or more metaphorically (for example 'his insouciant charm stripping / away my mask like confetti', from Colleen McElroy's 'The Dragon Lady Meets Her Match' in Twentieth-Century African American Poetry and 'ů she said nothing, and her face and forehead, clothed with a mask of purely negative expression, were as blank of comment as her lips' from Charlotte BrontŰ's The Professor, in Nineteenth-Century Fiction).

This search could be broadened in a number of ways. Plural forms could be added to the search expression (type his mask or his masks or its mask or its masks etc), retrieving additional phrases such as '[a] few miles from Einbeck, we will put on our masks, and attack the carriage' from John Motley's Morton's Hope (in Early American Fiction 1789–1850 and Early American Fiction 1789–1875). Alternatively, try using wildcards (type his mask* or her mask* or its mask* etc) to search more broadly still and retrieve old-spelling examples ('Loue puld off his maske' from Sidney's Arcadia in Early English Prose Fiction). Refine these searches by restricting them according to the gender or other search criteria available in the collection you are using.

Tip: you do not need to use double quotation marks around each of the phrases in your search term ("his mask" or "her mask" or "its mask" etc.) because they do not contain Boolean commands.

Example 7 (Poetry, Drama and Prose Fiction)

To find poems, plays or prose works referring to Abraham Lincoln in the title or first line (in such collections as African American Poetry, American Poetry, Canadian Poetry, English Poetry, English Poetry, Second Edition, Twentieth-Century African American Drama, Twentieth-Century American Drama or Twentieth-Century Drama):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • In the Title or First Line/Title Keyword(s) search box, type (president or abraham) and Lincoln (to retrieve works with titles containing either the words president and Lincoln or Abraham and Lincoln)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search

Proximity Operators

Example 8 (Poetry)

To find poems employing images of rotting leaves (using Twentieth-Century African American Poetry, Twentieth-Century American Poetry, Twentieth-Century English Poetry, English Poetry, English Poetry, Second Edition, African American Poetry, American Poetry or Canadian Poetry):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • In the Keyword(s) in Poem search box, type leaves near.20 decay* (to find the word leaves within twenty places of words beginning decay-)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first match for your search

Example 9 (Prose Fiction)

To find passages of narrative text associating the concepts of womanliness and modesty (using Early English Prose Fiction, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Early American Fiction 1789–1850 or Early American Fiction 1789–1875):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • In the Keyword(s) in Work search box, type womanl* near modest* (to find words such as womanly or womanliness within ten places of words such as modest, modestly, modesty or modestie)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first match for your search

Tip: the proximity operator near finds words up to ten places apart unless the user modifies the limit thus: near.6 (to locate search terms up to six places apart) or near.5 (to locate search terms up to five places apart).

Example 10 (Drama)

To find passages of dramatic writing in which the words justice and revenge appear in close proximity (using American Drama 1714–1915, English Drama or Twentieth-Century Drama):

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • In the Keyword(s) in Play search box, type revenge near.15 justice (to find revenge appearing within fifteen words of justice)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search
  • On the List of Results screen that opens, click the hyperlinked title of one of the works that interests you
  • On the Full Text screen that opens, click the Jump to first hit in text >> link to go straight to the first match for your search

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Old Spellings and Typographical Variants

Wherever possible the Chadwyck-Healey literature collections feature the first authorised edition of any given literary work and preserves the spelling and punctuation of the source text exactly. Many historical texts feature archaic and irregular spelling, and users should be aware when searching that a single modern-spelling search term will not by itself retrieve all the relevant passages from historical texts. For example, the Keyword search term melancholy will not retrieve occurrences of melancholye or melancolie in full text works.

Furthermore, early modern typographical conventions mean that in pre-1700 texts in particular certain characters are often used interchangeably: the character u often appears as a v, and vice versa, such that the word love often appears as loue, and usurper sometimes appears as vsurper. Similarly, the characters j and i are often exchanged, with the word juniper occasionally appearing as iuniper, and Icarus as Jcarus. In the Chadwyck-Healey literature collections all of these variant forms are preserved exactly from the source text and appear in the alphabetical word index on the Keyword List page (click select from a list >> alongside the Keyword field). Variant forms can be added to your search to compensate for these typographical conventions.

Alternatively, the literature collections with large amounts of pre-1700 content (English Poetry, English Poetry, Second Edition, Early English Prose Fiction and English Drama) allow you to include typographical variants in your results automatically using the checkbox on the Search screen. If you check this box and submit your search, your search results will find variant forms of your search term in which the character v has been substituted for u, u for v, j for i or y, i for j or y, y for i or j, w for vv or uu, and s for f.

A number of searching strategies are available when researching historical texts affected by irregular spellings and early modern typographical conventions.

Example 11a

Using English Poetry, English Poetry, Second Edition, Early English Prose Fiction and English Drama to find works from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries dealing with the theme of jealousy, including works in which this word jealousy appears as iealousy, jelouzie, jealovsie etc.:

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • In the Keyword(s) search box, type je?lo?s* or je?lo?z* (this search field is variously described as 'Keyword(s) in Poem', 'Keyword(s) in Play' or 'Keyword(s) in Work' according to the genre of the collection you are searching)
  • Click in the checkbox positioned above the Keyword(s) field to include typographical variants in your results
  • Click the Search button to execute your search

The literature collections will search for all terms matching je?lo?s* or je?lo?z* that have any character or no character in the position occupied by the two single character wildcards (?), and with any ending in place of the truncation operator (*), for instance jealous, jealousy, jealovs, jelouzie, jealousiy, jealosie, jellosie and jelowsye. The inclusion of typographical variants will broaden your search so that it includes such terms as ieŠlousie, iealousie, ielosie and ielowsy.

Results for this search in English Poetry and English Poetry, Second Edition should include numerous hits in a large number of works including John Davies' Microcosmos: The Discovery of the Little VVorld and Sir John Harington's Orlando Fvrioso; in English Drama, James Shirley's The Court Secret, Richard Brome's The Antipodes: A Comedie, Philip Massinger's The Bond-Man and Shakespeare's The Merry Wiues of Windsor, and, in Early English Prose Fiction, Richard Greene's Pandosto, John Lyly's Euphues and His England and Sir Henry Wotton's A Courtlie Controuersie of Cupids Cautels.

Example 11b

As an alternative to using wildcards, try selecting your search terms manually using the select from a list >> link. This method is more precise, allowing you to exercise more control over the endings of the words you retrieve (if, for example, you are looking for nouns only or for particular forms of a verb).

Tip: avoid entering more than fifteen terms in the Keyword field in a single search. For particularly complex queries involving many variants selected from the Keyword List, try performing a series of simpler searches. It is possible to combine two searches to form a single List of Results using Search History (using the Combine Searches feature with an 'OR' operator to include all results from both searches).

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • Type jealousy in the Keyword(s) field (this search field is variously described as 'Keyword(s) in Poem', 'Keyword(s) in Play' or 'Keyword(s) in Work' according to the genre of the collection you are searching)
  • Click the select from a list > > link next to the Keyword(s) field to open the Keyword(s) List page (variously described as 'Keyword in Poem List', 'Keyword in Play List' and 'Keyword in Work List'), which offers an alphabetical list of all words appearing in the database
  • On the Keyword List page, select variant forms of the noun jealousy (such as jealousye, jealouzie, jealouzy and jealozie) from the alphabetical list using the checkboxes provided, and click the Select button to return these terms to the Keyword(s) field
  • To add more variant forms, click the select from a list > > link next to the Keyword(s) field again, this time clicking the UP button on the Keyword List page when it opens
  • Select further variant forms (such as jealeusie, jealoasy, jealosie, jealosy etc) from the new list that appears, clicking Select to enter these additional terms in the Keyword(s) field
  • Check that your first set of variant forms is separated from your second set of selections by the Boolean OR operator
  • Click in the checkbox positioned above the Keyword(s) field to include typographical variants in your results (unless you intend to select variant forms beginning ieal- manually from the Keyword List as part of a separate search - see below)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search

Tip: when you select terms using the select from a list >> functionality, the Boolean operator OR is automatically inserted between terms so that your search will retrieve any work that contains one or more of your selections. You can type Boolean and proximity operators such as and, or, not or near yourself should you wish to do so (in either upper or lower case).

When you have reviewed your results, construct further searches involving other variant forms of the noun jealousy:

  • Delete your previous Keyword(s) search terms
  • Type jelousy in the Keyword(s) field, click select from a list >> to browse for alternative spellings beginning jel-, and click Select to paste your selections (such as jelousy, jelousye, jelouzie, jelowsie, jelowsy and jelowsye) back into the Keyword field(s)
  • To select manually other variant forms of the word jealousy in which the character j has been substituted for i due to early modern typographical conventions, use the Keyword select from a list >> feature once more to search for and select iealousy and other forms such as iealousy, ieŠlousie, iealousie, ielosie or ielowsy, and click Select to paste these selections back into the Keyword field (again ensuring that your selections are separated from your existing search terms by the OR operator)
  • Click the Search button to execute your search

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Non-standard Characters

For the purposes of searching, the Chadwyck-Healey literature collections treat non-standard characters such as the thorn (þ) exactly like their modern equivalents, so that a search for the Keyword auther will retrieve occurrences of auther, auþer and auðer. Entering auþer in the Keyword field will retrieve precisely the same results. Similarly, a search for Keyword aegis will retrieve occurrences of both aegis and ægis.

Words containing non-standard characters can be selected from the alphabetically-arranged Keyword List (click select from a list >>); such words can also be copied from other sources, such as Word documents or the electronic versions of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English texts in Chadwyck-Healey literature collections, and pasted into the Keyword field.

Example 12

Use English Poetry or English Poetry, Second Edition to find the phrase "Siþen þe sege":

  • On the home page of the collection you have chosen to search, click the Search button or clear your previous search by clicking Clear Search if necessary
  • Type Sithen the sege in the Keyword(s) in Poem field
  • Click Search

This search will retrieve the text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the text of which employs non-standard characters.

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Sample Searches for the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL)

Example 13

To find articles relating to Derek Walcott's Omeros using ABELL:

  • From the ABELL home page, click the Search link
  • On the Search screen, type Omeros in the Keyword(s) field
  • Type Walcott, Derek in the Subject field
  • Click the Search button

Tip: try using the select from a list >> link to choose exact search terms before you click Search.

Example 14

Find reviews of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1999):

  • From the ABELL home page, click the Search link
  • In the Title Keyword(s) field, type Critique of Postcolonial Reason or "Critique of Postcolonial Reason"
  • Click in the Reviews checkbox in the 'Limit To' section
  • Click the Search button

Tip: you don't need to use quotation marks when searching for phrases using ABELL, except when your phrase contains the words and, or, not or near. ABELL treats the words and, or, not or near as Boolean and proximity operators unless they form part of a phrase enclosed in quotation marks.

Example 15

Find articles and reviews from the TLS relating to W. H. Auden:

  • From the ABELL home page, click the Search link
  • Type Times Literary Supplement in the Journal field and click the select from a list >> link to select the exact form Times Literary Supplement (London)
  • Click Select to return your selection to the Journal field, forming the search expression EXACT "Times Literary Supplement (London)"
  • Type Auden in the Subject field and click the select from a list >> link to select the exact form Auden, W. H
  • Click Select to return your selections to the Subject field, forming the search expression "Auden, W. H"
  • Click the Search button

Tip: this search will retrieve bibliographic records from ABELL that have 'Auden, W. H.' in the Subject field. Note that not all reviews of Auden's work have Auden in the Subject field of the ABELL record. To broaden your search, try typing "Auden, W. H" in the Keyword(s) field instead of the Subject field: this broader search will retrieve ABELL records in which 'Auden, W. H.' appears either in the Subject field or in the Review field (as the author of a work reviewed).

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Sample Searches for the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB)

Example 16

To find articles on Franz Kafka's The Trial using the MLAIB:

  • From the MLAIB home page, click the Search link, then select Advanced Search
  • On the Advanced Search screen, type Kafka in the Author as Subject field
  • Type Trial in the Author's Work field (note: you can also search for the original-language title, in this case 'Der Prozess')
  • Click the Search button

Tip: try using the select from a list >> link to choose exact search terms before you click Search.

Example 17

To find articles that discuss the influence of Dante on 20th-century American literature:

  • From the Advanced Search screen, type Dante in the Literary Source field
  • Type American in the National Literature field
  • Type 1900-1999 in the Period field
  • Click the Search button

Example 18

Find a specific article for which you do not know the author or year, e.g. an article with 'mourning' in the title from volume 13 of American Drama

  • From the Advanced Search page, type mourning in the Title Keyword(s) field
  • Type American Drama in the Journal field
  • Type 13 in the Journal Volume field
  • Click the Search button

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