VOCEDplus help > Searching FAQs
Q: How do I enter search terms in the basic search box?
You can type one of more search terms in the basic search box. The default BOOLEAN operator between terms is 'OR'. This means that if you enter more than one search term, the search will look for items that contain at least one of the terms entered. To retrieve only those items that contain ALL search terms, type the word 'AND' between each search term. To exclude a term from your search, type 'NOT' between the search terms. To search for a phrase, enclose the words within double quotation marks.
Q: How do I search for multiple terms?
You can use BOOLEAN operators AND, OR or NOT to combine search terms in the basic search box on the home page.
You can also search for multiple terms in specific fields using either the guided or expert search on the 'Advanced Search' page. The guided search displays two search rows by default as most of the time only one or two rows are used. If more rows are needed, they can be added using the 'Add one more' button.
Select the field you want to search in and enter the search term in the search box (single words can be entered in the same box). If your search term contains multiple words, by default, the search will look for items that contain 'all of these' words. To find items that contain at least one of the words in your search term, select 'any of these' from the drop down list on the right. To find items that contain all the words in the order they have been entered, select 'as a phrase'.
When you enter searches in multiple rows, you can determine how subsequent rows are to be combined with the previous row by selecting a BOOLEAN operator (AND, OR, NOT) from the drop down list that appears in front of the field.
For example, to search for publications co-authored by Phil Loveder and John Stanwick, select 'Authors' from the drop-down list of fields in the first row and enter loveder phil as the search term (no capitalisation or punctuation needed) and select 'As a phrase'. In the next row, select 'Authors' from the drop-down list and type in stanwick john as the search term and 'As a phrase' from the drop-down list. Leave the BOOLEAN operator as AND. Click the 'Search' button to run the search.
For further information on searching, including how to use the expert search, view the 'Searching VOCEDplus' user guide on the 'Help' page.
Q: What are BOOLEAN operators
BOOLEAN operators are words or symbols used to connect two or more search terms. In VOCEDplus, you can use:
- AND to narrow a search to only find those items that contain ALL the search terms entered. For example, searching for youth AND unemployment will find all items that contain both youth and unemployment
- OR to broaden a search to find those items that contain at least one of the search terms entered. For example, searching for youth OR unemployment will find items that contain either youth or unemployment
- NOT to exclude terms from a search. For example, searching for youth NOT unemployment will find all items that contain youth but not unemployment.
In VOCEDplus, if no operator is provided, the search will default to OR.
Q: How do I search in one or more specific fields?
VOCEDplus offers two options for searching in a single specific field or combining fields. These are accessed via the Advanced Search link at the bottom of the Search box on the home page.
- Using the first option, the Guided Search, you can search in the following fields: Authors; Corporate authors; Title; Abstract; Subject/Keyword; Geographic subject; Date; ISBN; and ISSN. Select the required field from the drop-down list of fields and type your search term(s) in the search box.
If your search terms contain multiple words, by default, the search will look for items that contain all of these words. To find items that contain at least one of the words of your search term(s), select any of these from the drop-down list on the right. To find items that contain all the words in the order they have been entered, select as a phrase.
You can also combine search terms in different fields using AND, OR, NOT from the drop-down list on the left. You also have the option to add more rows to include more fields in your search. For example, to search for publications authored by Phil Loveder on pathways, select 'Authors' from the drop-down list in the first row and type phil loveder in the first search box. Leave the search term operator to 'all of these'. Then select 'Subject/Keyword' from the drop-down list in the second row and type in the search term pathways, again leaving the search term operator to 'all of these'. Check that the BOOLEAN operator for combining the fields is set to the default AND then click the 'Search' button to run the search.
- The second option, the Expert Search, provides additional fields within which to search: Abstract; Authors (All); Authors (Corporate); Authors (Personal); Conference; Geographic subject; Journal title; Keywords; Publisher; Resource type; Series; Subjects; Title (All); Title (Main); Year published.
Use the drop-down list to select and add a VOCEDplus search field into the search box. Enter the search terms for that field, using quotation marks for phrases. If multiple terms are to be searched in a field, enclose the terms in brackets and type BOOLEAN operators in upper case between terms.
To add another field, type in the relevant BOOLEAN operator then select and add the next field from the drop-down list. Enter the search terms for the second field. Continue like this to add additional fields. Click on the ‘Search’ button under the expert search box to run the search.
The size of the search box can be expanded by clicking and dragging the bottom right. More information is available in the Search Tips box to the right of the Expert Search box and in the 'Searching VOCEDplus' user guide, which can be viewed on the 'Help' page.
Q: What is the difference between subjects and keywords?
Subjects are the 52 broad topics covered in VOCEDplus. Keywords are the 628 narrower terms that sit under the subjects.
To search specifically in the 'Subject/Keyword' fields on the 'Advanced Search' page, refer to the 'A guide to subjects and keywords used in VOCEDplus' on the 'Help' page, for the correct search terms to use in these fields. If you enter terms not on the list, your search results will be incorrect. For example, if you enter the search term women in the 'Subject/Keyword' field, the search will not find any items because the preferred term is gender.
You can also browse the full subject and keyword lists separately under the 'Browse' menu.
Q: My search found too many items. How do I refine my search?
In VOCEDplus you can filter your search results and from there, further modify your original search:
- Filtering or narrowing your search results is available by seven categories: Authors; Subjects; Keywords; Geographic subjects; Resource type; Peer reviewed; Date published. The filters appear on the left of the search results page. The number in brackets against each term in the filter boxes shows how many items will be retrieved if you apply that filter. Each filter type displays up to five terms (the top five terms within the search results) and a maximum of 20 terms can be viewed by clicking the 'Show more' link in each filter box.
Any filters you apply will appear under your original search terms in the 'Current search' box on the top right-hand side of the search results page. You can apply additional filters to further refine/narrow your search. To remove a filter, click on the minus symbol in front of the filter in the 'Current search' box.
- Once a filter has been applied to the search results, you will get two check boxes that will allow you to retain your original search terms and/or filters and then add other search terms. When you tick the 'Retain search terms' a drop-down list of BOOLEAN operators appear so you can choose how you want the additional search terms to be added to your original search.
You can add more terms to your original search by adding terms in the search box and selecting the BOOLEAN operator AND. Conversely, you can exclude terms from your original search in the same way by selecting the BOOLEAN operator NOT.
You can also refine a search by:
- using the 'Advanced search' page to search in specific fields
- using the 'Advanced search' page to limit your search to items published within a specified date range.
Q: My search found too few items. How do I broaden my search?
You can broaden your search in a number of ways. For example, if your search for "accreditation of prior learning" did not find many items, you can broaden this search by:
- adding alternative search terms to the original query using the BOOLEAN operator OR. For example, try searching for "accreditation of prior and experiential learning" OR APEL OR "accreditation of prior learning"
- using 'A guide to subjects and keywords used in VOCEDplus' on the 'Help' page to select the most relevant search terms, e.g. Recognition of prior learning
- using the basic search box to search across all fields, including the full text of documents.
Q: I only want scholarly items. How do I limit my search to peer reviewed items?
There are two ways to limit your search to peer reviewed items:
- use the 'Advanced Search' page and tick the 'Only Peer Reviewed' check box
- run your search and use the 'Peer reviewed' filter on the search results page (filters appear on the left of the search results page).
Q: I only want recently published items. How do I limit my search by date?
You can limit your search to items published within a specified period by using the search options on the 'Advanced Search' page to specify date limits as part of your search.
As part of a 'Guided Search':
- to search for items published in a single, specific year, select the Date field from the drop-down list on the left-hand side and type the year into the search box
- to search for items published within a specific period, use the 'From Year' and 'To Year' option and enter the first and last years of the period in the two boxes
- to search for items published before a specific year, enter the year in the 'To Year' field and leave the 'From Year' field blank
- to search for items published after a specific year, enter the year in the 'From Year' field and leave the 'To Year' field blank.
As part of an 'Expert Search':
- to search for items published in a single, specific year, select and add the Year published field from the drop-down list and type the year after the semicolon
- to search for items published within a specific period, select and add the Year published field from the drop-down list and after the semicolon, type the first and last years of the time period between square brackets, i.e. [2010 2019].
Alternatively, you can limit your search by date after you have done your search by:
- using the 'Date published' filter on the search results page
- using the 'Sort by Publication Date' option on the search results page to view the most recently published items first; clicking on this option again will reverse the sort to show oldest items first.
Q: How do I search for an item by its ISBN or ISSN?
Click on the Advanced Search link under the basic search box on the home page and, using the 'Guided Search', select either ISBN or ISSN from the drop-down list on the left-hand side.
- To search for an ISBN, enter the number without any spaces or hyphens e.g. 9781402052811
- To search for an ISSN, enter the number, including the hyphen e.g. 0141-8211.
You can also search for ISBNs and ISSNs using the basic search box entering the number in the same format as above.
Q: How do I search for items by specific authors?
There are three ways to search for authors:
- use the 'Browse Authors' link under the 'Browse' menu to view a list of authors (both personal and corporate authors) in VOCEDplus. The number in brackets next to each name indicates the number of items in VOCEDplus by that author; clicking on a name will run a search to find all items by that author
- use the basic search box and type in the author's name in double quotes, surname followed by the first name with a comma separating the two names (capitalisation is not needed) e.g. "smith, john".
- use the Advanced Search options:
- using the Guided Search, select 'Authors' from the drop-down list of fields on the left-hand side; type in the author's name, either the surname only or surname followed by first name, retaining 'all of these' in the drop-down list on the right-hand side of the box
- using the Expert Search, select and add 'Authors (personal)' from the drop-down list; after the semicolon, type in the author's surname only or surname followed by first name enclosed within double quotation marks.
Tip: Use the 'Browse Authors' option if you are uncertain about the exact form of an author's name.
Q: How do I perform a new search from the search results page?
To do a new search from the search results page, use the search box at the top of the page or click on the 'Advanced Search' link under the search box.
If you have run a search and added one or more filters, and then want to run a new search that includes the added filters, click the 'Retain current filters' checkbox before you click the search button.
To do a new search from the 'Full Item Display' page, click on the 'New Search' button at the top of the page. This will take you to the home page from where you can either do a basic search or click on the 'Advanced Search' link to do an advanced search, either guided or expert.