Searching for an Exact Phrase
If you want to include more than one term in a field search, use parentheses () to enclose your search terms, or quotation marks (" ") to search for an exact phrase.
The example above searches for the exact phrase "american revolution" rather than treating it as a phrase search (american AND revolution).
Some other examples:
- ti:cat dog will find the word cat in the item title field and the word dog in any field
- ti:(cat dog) will find the words cat and dog in the item title field in any order
- ti:"color purple" will find the exact phrase color purple in the item title field
- ti:(peacekeeping "united nations") will find the word peacekeeping and the phrase united nations in the item title field
JSTOR search allows you to find terms that are within a set number of words of each other using the tilde (~) symbol.
In this example, you will only get results with the terms debt and forgiveness within ten words of each other.
In the Advanced Search interface, you may choose Near 5, 10, or 25 words from the drop-down list between search terms.
Note: Proximity searches are based on word count only. All punctuation is ignored.
Boosting Term Relevance
You may increase the importance of any term in your search by using the caret (^) symbol followed by a number that represents the rise in relevance.
In the example above, an occurrence of the word cat in an item is seven times more important than the word dog.
Searching for Plural Terms
JSTOR allows you to search for singular and plural forms of a word at the same time by adding an ampersand to the end of the singular form of a word.
In the example above, knife& finds knife and knives. More examples of plural searching are:
- cat& finds cat and cats
- bus& finds bus and busses
- sky& finds sky and skies
- person& finds person and people
- goose& finds goose and geese
Narrow Search Results with Field Abbreviations
You can narrow search results to a variety of item or journal information. This is possible because JSTOR uses fields for categorization of metadata. Each field is represented in a search by its abbreviation.
The example above will find all items for which Smith is listed as an author.
Frequently User JSTOR Field Abbreviations
Returns Results From
item title (not review)
full length articles
author of a reviewed work
More JSTOR Field Abbreviations:
ty: = type of item
ty:fla = full length article
ty:brv = book review
ty:edi = opinion piece
ty:(nws OR mis) = other items
cty:(book) = book
cty:pamphlet = pamphlet
ti: titles of items or reviewed works
rt: title of a reviewed work
au: equivalent to searching within both aa and ra fields [ex: au:smith yields same set of results as (aa:smith OR ra:smith)]
so: or jo: journal title
no: issue or number
sn: or in: International Standard Serials Number (ISSN).
gl: grouping level (to search for specific topics as listed in the original print journal table of contents)
JSTOR uses the Library of Congress's three letter MARC language codes. Here are some examples:
la:ara = Arabic
la:chi = Chinese
la:dut = Dutch
la:eng = English
la:fre = French
la:ger = German
la:gre = Greek Modern
la:heb = Hebrew
la:ita = Italian
la:jpn = Japanese
la:lat = Latin
la:por = Portuguese
la:rus = Russian
la:spa = Spanish
la:swe = Swedish
la:tur = Turkish
Combining Search Terms with AND, OR, NOT
You may combine search terms and fields using AND, OR, and NOT (Boolean logic).
|AND||When you combine search terms with AND in a full-text search, your results contain everything in which both terms appear. Combining search terms makes your search results more precise.|
You can explicitly denote AND in the following ways: cat AND dog, cat && dog, cat & dog, +cat +dog, (cat dog)
|OR||Using OR between search terms allows to you find all items that contain either term. Using OR will search for items that contain either the word "cat", the word "dog", or both.|
For example: cat OR dog, cat || dog
|NOT||Searches using NOT will only find items that do not contain the search term following it. To find all items with the word cat that do not contain the word dog, search for: cat NOT dog, cat -dog (Be sure to include a space before the dash, but not after)|
Searching for Multiple Spellings of a Term
You can find words with spellings similar to your search term by using the tilde (~) symbol at the end of a search term.
For example, ti:dostoyevsky~ helps find items with dostoyevsky in the item title field, as well as variant spellings like dostoevsky, dostoievski, dostoevsky, dostoyevski, dostoevskii, dostoevski, etc.
Note: This way of searching encompasses a very large number of words. Narrowing this kind of search to the item title or another field is recommended.
The first letter always remains the same.
Wildcards take the place of one or more characters in a search term. A question mark is used for single character searching. An asterisk is used for multiple character searching. Wildcards are used to search for alternate spellings and variations on a root word. Wildcard characters cannot be used in place of the first letter of a word or within an exact phrase search.
- A search with the term te?ts finds the words tents, tests, texts, and any other five-lettered words that start with te- and end with -ts
- A search on bird* finds bird, birding, birdman, birds, and other words that start with bird-
- Wildcard characters may be used in a field search: au:sm?th or ti:shakespeare*
- A search on organi?ation finds organization or organisation
- behavior* searches for behavior, behavioral, behaviorist, behaviorism, or behaviorally
- p*diatric searches for pediatric or paediatric
- wom?n AND "science education" searches for science education with woman or women or womyn
- (novel& or fiction) AND feminis* searches for words that start with feminis-, like feminism or feminist, that contain novel or novels or fiction
Note: The closer to the start of a term you use the wildcard, the longer your search will take to process. Using multiple wildcards within a single search term will also result in longer search times.
Using the number sign (#) after a word stem performs a search that finds all related variations of a term.
- operate# finds operate, operating, operation, and operative
- goose# finds goose, geese, and gosling
- went# finds went, go, and going
Stopwords are words that appear so frequently in the text they lose their usefulness as search terms. JSTOR search ignores the followings list of stopwords to avoid searches that find almost every document in the archive:
a, about, above, after, again, against, all, also, although, am, an, and, another, any, are, as, at, back, be, because, been, before, being, below, between, both, but, by, can, could, did, do, does, doing, down, during, each, either, even, ever, every, few, for, from, further, get, go, goes, had, has, have, having, he, her, here, hers, herself, him, himself, his, how, however, if, in, into, is, it, its, itself, just, least, less, like, made, make, many, may, me, might, more, most, must, my, myself, neither, never, no, nor, not, now, of, off, on, once, one, only, or, other, ought, our, ours, ourselves, out, over, own, put, said, same, say, says, see, seen, shall, she, should, since, so, some, still, such, take, than, that, the, their, theirs, them, themselves, then, there, therefore, these, they, this, those, three, through, to, too, two, under, until, up, us, very, was, way, we, well, were, what, when, where, whether, which, while, who, whom, why, will, with, would, you, your, yours, yourself, yourselves
JSTOR search does recognize the AND, OR, and NOT operators. They do affect your search if you include them.
If stop words are part of an exact phrase search ("") then they will be used in the search.
- "to be or not to be" will find this phrase
- to be or not to be (without double quotes) will cause an error
Grouping Combined Search Terms
Parentheses allow you to determine the order in which terms are combined. The search "currency reform" AND (russia OR "soviet union") will search for items that contain the phrase currency reform and that contain either russia or soviet union.
Without grouping parentheses, the search is interpreted as "currency reform" AND russia OR "soviet union," which returns items containing either both currency reform and russia or containing soviet union. By using parentheses, you may control the grouping of search terms.
- (finch OR sparrow) AND exotic will search for items that contain the word exotic and either the word finch or the word sparrow
- (birds OR butterflies) NOT sparrow will search for items that contain either the word birds or butterflies and do not contain the word sparrow
- birds NOT (sparrow robin) will search for items that contain the word birds but do not contain both the words sparrow and robin (remember, a space between terms defaults to an AND operator)
- birds NOT (sparrow OR robin) will search for items that contain the word birds but do not contain either the word sparrow or the word robin
Search Within Results
To search within an existing set of search results, check the "search within these results" box and enter a new search term in the text box (deleting any text already there). Then click the "search" button. The new query will be appended to the first with the AND operator. If the new term is entered with the operator NOT at the beginning, the original query and the "search within these results" query are joined with NOT.
- The original search for the word dog, and the word cat entered in the "search within these results" box, will find dog AND cat
- The original search for the word dog, and the words NOT cat entered in the "search within these results" box, will find dog NOT cat
You might also want to try Data for Research, which offers more options for searching data archived in JSTOR.