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The key to getting good results from your searches is fully understanding the search engine. By understanding the innerworkings of the engine, you can create complex search queries that return meaningful and useful results.
Single Word Searches
Single word searches are the simplest and most common form of searching. Each free form text field you can search allows you to enter one or multiple words. When you perform a single word search you are asking the search engine to find all instances of the ENTIRE word, not a part of the word. To construct a search telling the search engine to look for all words that contain the single word, see the Wildcard Search section later on this page.
Multiple Field Searches
The next most common form of searching is single words in multiple fields. When you enter single words in multiple search files, the search engine returns the set of books that match ALL of the criteria.
Multiple Word Searches
The real power of the search engine emerges when you construct queries that contain multiple words in a field.
By default, the search engine treats multiple word searches as phrases. For instance, entering the phrase "Paul Outside the Walls" in the Title field instructs the search engine to find all titles with the phrase "Paul Outside the Walls," NOT all titles that contain the words "Paul," "Outside," "the," and "Walls."
HINT If you are searching for a particular author and are not having any luck, try using a boolean search to specify the author's first name and last name. The author may publish using a middle initial. For instance, the search engine will not be find the phrase "Paul Achtemeier" because he publishes as "Paul J. Achtemeier." Using the boolean "and" in the author field (Paul and Achtemeier) will result in all of the books written by Paul J. Achtemeier.
Certain words are treated differently by the search engine. These reserved words are called boolean words and allow you to specify combinations of words within fields.
Wildcard searches allow you to search the RBL database for partial words instead of exact matches of words. For instance, if you want to find all the titles that contain "God" or any variation on the word God, you can use the wildcard character * to tell the engine to retrieve all instances of the titles that contain any variation on the word God. You can also use more than one wildcard character to extend your search. For example, *God* will return all instances of titles that contain the word God, including Godly, UnGodly, etc.
Wildcards can ONLY be used at the end of words, not the beginning. So *theism WILL NOT return books with the word Monotheism in it, but Mono* will.