Searching for Documents

Basic Search Tips

1. To perform a simple search, enter your search term and click the "Search" button.

2. Search for a phrase by placing the term within quotation marks. Placing quotation marks around the phrase "family planning" narrows a search to only those records containing the phrase family planning. Limit phrase to 4-5 words.

3. Construct a simple Boolean search using AND or OR in the search box. If multiple words are entered without a Boolean operator, the default is OR. For example, typing family planning searches for family OR planning (not family AND planning)

The AND operator finds records where both terms exist in a single record. To search for records that contain "population distribution" and "West Africa" type: "population distribution" AND "West Africa"

The OR operator finds a record if either of the terms exist in a single record. To search for records that contain either "population distribution" or just geography type: "population distribution" OR geography

3. Grouping concepts. Use parentheses to group search terms with Boolean operators to control the logic of the search. For example, to search for either "population" or "family" and "planning" use the search phrase: (population OR family) AND planning

4. Use the asterisk (*) as a wildcard to truncate, or shorten, a word. Note:Issues with Wildcard Searching POPLINE uses Apache Solr enterprise search. Solr treats wildcard searching slightly different in that * doesn't not include the case of an absence of a character. Searching 'adolescent*' will find matches for adolescents but not adolescent. You can do that with 'adolescent OR adolescent*'. Or simply by using as much of the the root word as needed, e.g., 'adolescen*' would find: adolescent, adolescents, adolescence, adolescency. Also, You cannot use wildcards in Advanced search fields that have the autocomplete feature.

You must use at least the first three characters of the word. For example, to search for report, reports, or reporter, you can type: report*

5. Prepositions (e.g.: in, out) or articles (a, an, the) can only be searched in a quoted phrase otherwise they are not searchable.

6. Searching is case insensitive. Searching HIV or hiv will retrieve the same results.

Advanced Search

In choosing “POPLINE Advanced Search” you have selected a user-controlled, customizable search screen which can assist you in:

  • searching a specific field,
  • constructing a multi-concept search strategy, and
  • limiting your retrieval by:

      • region, subregion, country
      • language
      • publication year
      • POPLINE Document Number

Searching Specific Fields

The following chart contains all fields that are searchable from the “POPLINE Advanced Search” page, along with the information they contain and specific search tips for that field:

Field Name
Search Tips
All Fields
·         Abstract
·         Corporate author
·         Country / Region / Subregion
·         EnglishTitle
·         Journal Title
·         Keywords
·         Language
·         Non-English Title
·         Notes
·         Personal author
·         Source
Original/translated English title; orginal/translated non-English title
Enclose title phrases in quotation marks, e.g.,  "family planning".
To find resources in a language other than English, search for title words & phrases in that language as well as English.
Standardized subject headings listed in the POPLINE Thesaurus
The keyword search box includes an autocomplete feature.
Begin typing in the keyword search box, the autocomplete feature suggests keywords that begin with your term. To select additional keywords, separate each keyword concept with a comma.
The Keyword search box does not support wildcards (*) or keyword stems.
Commas between keywords are interpreted as Boolean ORs. To combine keywords with Boolean ANDs, add another Keyword search box.
Region / Country
The region/country the document/article is about.
The Region/Country search box includes an autocomplete feature that suggests options as you type. Separate each concept with a comma. The Region/Country search box does not support wildcards (*)
Commas between terms are interpreted as Boolean ORs. To combine terms with Boolean ANDs, add another search box.
Selecting a region, such as AFRICA, will find records with AFRICA or any of its subregions and countries.  
Author or Organization
Personal author; Corporate author; Organization name
Author format is Surname space first two initials.
To be sure to find all forms of a name, search on last name only.  To narrow, search on full name with given name first initial and enclose in quotation marks, e.g., "Smith T"
Title of Journal, Newsletter, or Newspaper.
Place of publication, name of published, publication date.
For parts of documents, such as book chapters, includes title and editor/compiler of whole document.
Search on full title of journal minus initial article, enclosed in quotation marks, e.g., "AIDS Care".
Or, search on a phrase from title of journal, enclosed in quotation marks, e.g., "Journal of the American"
Search on words or phrases (enclosed in quotations marks) from publisher's name, words or phrases from whole document title, or last name(s) of editor(s)/compiler(s).
The language(s) of the resource.
The Language search box includes an autocomplete feature that suggests options as you type.
The selection list contains only valid Languages found in the database.
The year in which the resource was published. 
Search a range of years by entering year in the From and Toboxes.
To search a single year, select that year in both the From and To list.
The selection list contains only valid Years found in the database.