SEARCH BASICS

This topic explains how to access information in Foundation Grants to Individuals Online using a variety of search techniques. It is particularly helpful for those who are new to the service and need a little help getting started. For more examples using these techniques, see the Search — Tutorial.

Basic (Keyword) Search

A Keyword Search on the main search screen allows you to retrieve a record by searching its complete contents (unlike the indexes on the Advanced Search screen, which only search the corresponding index fields). If you are searching for specific information not found in the indexes, or you do not want to limit your search to a particular field, use the Text Search option.

Note: Keyword Search criteria can be used in combination with any number of Index Search criteria if you click Advanced Search link on the main search screen.

To conduct a Keyword Search:

  1. Type in the keyword or phrase for which you are searching in the text field on the main search screen.
  2. Click Go. The results of your search are displayed on the Search Results Screen.
  3. Click on a record in the Search Results list to view the record. You'll notice your search terms are highlighted.
  4. Click the Back to Results link when you are finished viewing the displayed record and either select another record from the list, or click the Next Record or Previous Record links to move to the next or previous records in your search results.

Tip: When entering search terms into the Keyword Search field, be aware of a few things:

  • Exact phrase matching. To search for a full phrase exactly as you enter it, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. For example, searching for symphony orchestra will return results containing either or both of those words; searching for "symphony orchestra" will return results containing that exact phrase.
  • Commonly used words or phrases. It's best to avoid them in constructing your search. Searching for words like foundation, or giving, or phrases like application information will probably not get you any closer to the information you're looking for, because those words exist in most records.
  • Don't be too specific. Just as searching for commonly used words will yield too many results, searching for words that are too specific won't yield enough. Take some time to browse the data to get a feel for the way in which it is presented. Review the indexes and experiment by combining a keyword with an index entry. Index entries tend to be broad, so including a moderately specific keyword could yield a more manageable list of results.

References

See Boolean Searching for more information about using Boolean operators in advanced searches.

See the Search Tutorial for step-by-step examples of this type of search.

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Advanced (Index) Search

To conduct an Advanced Search, or Index Search, you must first decide how to frame your search. The search screens provide a number of indexes from which to choose. Because not all indexes are arranged in the same way, it's suggested that you review an explanation of those you wish to include in your search. The indexes are: Foundation Name, Foundation Location (state, county, city, metropolitan area, congressional district, and ZIP code), Fields of Interest, Types of Support, Geographic Focus, Company Name(s), School Name(s), and Type of Grantmaker, as well as a Total Giving Range drop-down menu.

Using the Advanced Search screen makes it possible for you to conduct a search without the need to type anything at all in the search fields. Clicking an index entry pastes your selection into the search field automatically.

To conduct an index search on the Foundation Search Screen:

  1. Click the Advanced Search link on the main search screen after logging in.
  2. Click an index name on the Search Screen.
  3. Locate the index entry you wish to include in your search in the index menu on the left-hand side and click on it.
  4. Repeat the above step if you want to include additional search criteria in other search fields.
    Note: The search engine automatically inserts the AND Boolean operator between search fields if two or more criteria are included as part of your search. This will narrow your results because the AND operator tells the search engine to return only records containing all of the criteria you select. See Boolean Searching for more information.
  5. Click the Search button once you've selected all of the criteria you wish to include in your search. Your results appear in the Search Results list.
  6. Click on a record in the Search Results list to display the text of the record in the Record Display window. Your search terms will be highlighted (you can toggle the highlighting on or off using the checkbox on the left-hand side of the Record Display window).
  7. Click the Back to Results link when you are finished viewing the displayed record to go back to Search Results. Or, if you prefer, click the Next Record or Previous Record links to move to the next or previous records in your search results.

When you are finished viewing records retrieved by the current search, you can modify your current search or start a new search by any of the following methods:

  • Return to the main search screen by clicking the Foundation Grants to Individuals Online logo.
  • Enter a new term in the Keyword field at the top of the Results Display screen and select New Search or Search Within Results.
  • Make a selection from the Narrow Your Results menu.
  • Remove your current search criteria by deselecting the checkboxes by your criteria, listed at the top-left of the search results list.

About Index Search

When the search engine performs an index search, it looks in the index's associated field of each record in the database. Utilizing the indexes is a good way to become familiar with the terminology used. However, after gaining knowledge about the style and terms used, you may prefer to conduct your searches by manually entering your search criteria into the text boxes next to the index fields.

The system performs a "zone search" of the terms entered within a search field, allowing you to conduct successful searches even when you have entered only a portion of a name or term.

Example: When you type Alfred Sloan in the Foundation Name search field on the Foundation Search Screen, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is retrieved.

References

See Boolean Searching to find out how to narrow or broaden an Index Search.

See The Foundation Indexes for additional information about the content and structure of indexes.

See the Search Tutorial for step-by-step examples of Index Searches.

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Boolean Searching

Boolean Searching lets you combine multiple search criteria in various ways, broadening or narrowing search results based on index entries and/or keywords you select. Boolean searching is a powerful tool, providing great flexibility in designing complex search strategies. However, this flexibility can also be confusing. Experimentation is the best way to ensure you get accurate results. To perform a search with more than one term per search field, you place a Boolean operator between each term.

There are four Boolean operators that can be incorporated into a search. They are the words: OR, AND, NOT, and NEAR.

  • The OR operator. Placing OR between search terms broadens a search, retrieving all records containing either term.

An example using OR:

  • Go to the Advanced Search screen
  • Place the cursor in the Fields of Interest search field by clicking in it.
  • Type dance OR theater.
  • Click Search.
  • All records containing either the word dance or the word theater (or both) are displayed in the Foundation Search Results window.

Note: The OR operator is the default operator placed between terms when you select more than one from an index. You can replace OR by deleting it and typing another operator in its place.

  • The AND operator. The AND operator between search terms narrows a search, retrieving only records containing both terms.

An example using AND:

  • Replace the OR operator from the prior example (dance OR theater) with the AND operator.
  • Your search term should now be dance AND theater.
  • Click Search.
  • Only records containing both the words dance and theater in the Fields of Interest part of the record are retrieved and displayed in the Foundation Search Results window. There will be fewer records retrieved than in the previous example. 
  • The NOT operator. The NOT operator limits a search, excluding records with terms you enter to the right of the NOT operator.

An example using NOT:

  • Replace the AND operator from the prior example (dance AND theater) with the NOT operator.
  • Your search term should now be dance NOT theater.
  • Click Search.
  • Records containing the word dance but not the word theater in the Fields of Interest part of the record are retrieved.
  • The NEAR operator. The NEAR operator limits a search when combined with a number, as illustrated in the example below, inlcuding records with terms that appear within a certain, defined number or words as each other.

An example using NEAR:

  • Use the Keyword Search field instead of the Fields of Interest search field for this example.
  • Replace the NOT operator from the prior example (dance NOT theater) with the NEAR operator and specify five words by adding slash ( / ) and the number 5 after the operator.
  • Your search term should now be dance NEAR/5 theater.
  • Click Search.
  • Records containing the words dance and theater, but only in instances where those words appear within five words of each other. Note: It does not matter which word appears first.

See Search Tutorial for more sample searches with Boolean Operators.

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Wildcard Searching

Use the wildcard characters to search for variations on words. The two wildcard characters you can use in a search are:

  • The asterisk ( * )
  • The question mark ( ? )

Using the asterisk ( * )

The asterisk ( * ) wildcard finds words with variations on several letters at the beginning or end of a word.

  1. Use the Keyword Search field.
  2. Type art*.
  3. Click Search. All records containing the words art, arts, artistic, etc., are returned. (If you had placed the asterisk at the beginning of art (*art), records with words like start, heart, and part would be returned.)

Using the question mark ( ? )

The question mark ( ? ) wildcard finds words with variations on a single letter anywhere within a word.

  1. Use the Keyword Search field.
  2. Type f?rm.
  3. Click Search. This search statement matches form, farm, firm, etc.

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Combining Index and Keyword Searching

It is possible to combine not only indexed search fields when conducting a search but the Keyword Search field as well. This feature can really help you to zero in on the information you need by letting you build search scenarios that can be as specific as you like.

To conduct a search combining Index and Keyword Search fields:

  1. Enter your search terms into the appropriate index search field(s).
  2. Type your word, phrase, or a combination of words and phrases using Boolean operators, into the Keyword Search field.
  3. Click Search.

Note: Keep in mind that the search engine automatically inserts the AND Boolean operator between search fields. For example, if your search includes a Foundation City, a Type of Support and a Keyword Search phrase, the search engine builds the search like so: [Foundation City] AND [Type of Support] AND [Keyword(s)]. Only records containing all of these elements will be retrieved. See Boolean Searching for more information.

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