Searching the Metcalf Literature Collection Database

Literature Search Help

User-specified search terms. Search terms are not case sensitive and require no diacritic marks (accents) for foreign languages (but see notes on “ ü” and “æ” under wildcards, below) . Unless one of the search options described below is in effect, the search will retrieve only items based on the precise string of letters or numbers entered. If more than one search string is entered within a box with a space between each string, the search assumes the word “AND” between each term. Certain characters (other than letters and numbers) and the words “AND”, “OR” and “NOT”, if entered within a search box, will likely abort the search. In hyphenated names and words, for example, replace the "hyphen" with a space.

User-specified Boolean operators. Users may select among four Boolean operators by placing specific characters (but no spaces) between search terms (within a search box) as follows:

AND (&) [ampersand] -- searching “cotton&pests” retrieves titles with both “cotton” and “pests”. By default, a blank space between search terms will also read as “&”.

NEAR (;) [semicolon] -- searching “tree;hopper” retrieves titles with “tree hopper”, “treehopper”, or “tree-hopper”.

NOT (~) [tilde] -- searching “new~york” retrieves titles with “new”, but not “york”.

OR (|) [vertical line] -- searching “centrotus|gargara” retrieves titles with either Centrotus or Gargara.

The wildcards (%) and (_). The percent character (%) may be added before, after, or within a string of letters (or numbers) to retrieve variations based on that root. The wildcard % can be used any number of times at any part of the search string. A “wildcarded” string will be expanded into a list of equivalence terms that includes all terms matching the string and having 0 or more characters in place of the wildcard % character.

While a search of “centrotus” retrieves numerous entries on the genus Centrotus, a search of “centrot%” retrieves also Centrote, Centroti, Centrotinae, centrotino, Centrotoscelus, Centrotusoides, and Centrotypus, and, finally, a search of “%centrot%” adds also Acentrotrus and Brachycentrotus to this list. A wild card may be used not only with words, but also dates [“17%” or “192%”] and call numbers [MC 220.1%].

To search for words with the German umlaut (“ü” or “ue”), we suggest substituting “u%”, thus “u%ber” retrieves both über and ueber. To retrieve the diphthong “æ” (as in Membracidæ), search “membracid%”.

A second wildcard, the underscore character (_) specifies a single position in which any one letter or number can occur. For example, a search of “membraci_ae” retrieves both Membracidae (a family) and Membracinae (a subfamily). Caution: a search of “tree_hopper” retrieves neither “tree-hopper” nor “tree hopper” (use “tree;hopper” or “tree;hopper%” instead).

Stemming option ($). An automatic stemming option, implemented by placing the dollar sign ($) before a term, retrieves many (but not all) plurals and certain abbreviated forms of terms based on an internal thesaurus. In some instances, this option retrieves unintended entries. For example, a keyword search of “$Delaware” retrieves items with the postal abbreviation “DE” as well as many foreign languages entries with the word “de.”

Quick search. The quick search does a keyword search of all displayed fields (and any associated detailed journal information). One or more keywords may be entered in the search box either with a space between each term (in which case the word “AND” is assumed) or with a user-specified Boolean character (and no spaces) between each search term.

Field searches. In addition to options provided by the quick search, field search boxes permit users to search a button-selected field <author/keyword/title/date/call no.> or various combinations of fields combined using button-selected Boolean operators [AND/OR/NOT].

In these searches, the button-selected Boolean operators read from left to right as follows: ({<field box 1> [AND/OR/NOT] <field box 2>} [AND/OR/NOT] <field box 3>) [AND/OR/NOT] <field box 4>. The first search term must be entered in the top field box, resetting the button-selected search field if other than <author>. Additional search terms are entered moving down the screen and left to right. Special care is needed in designing searches that involve both [AND] and [OR] statements to achieve the desired result.

Within a field search box, users have the same options as those described under quick search, above.

Be certain to clear or reset both the button-selected fields and Boolean operators as appropriate between searches.

Sample field search strategies. The sample searches below are for illustrative purposes. The single search strategy presented for each query is not necessarily the only reasonable approach. In these examples, the symbols [ ] and < > distinguish the button-selected [Boolean operators] from button-selected <fields>, while quote marks delimit user-selected “search terms.” A little trial and error employing a variety of search strategies and search terms is often needed to optimize one’s search. Thus users have the option of refining their last search or starting a new one. If a search retrieves hundreds of titles, one may wish to further limit the results by selecting a particular author, time period, subject, or geographic location.

To determine which papers might discuss the chromosomes of spittlebugs of the family Cercopidae (also called froghoppers), search the following as <keywords> “cercopid%” [OR] “spittlebug%” [OR] “frog;hopper%” [AND] “chromosome%”.

To find publications on the threecornered alfalfa hopper (also known as the three-cornered alfalfa hopper, Spissistilus festinus, or Stictocephala festina) by Floyd Smith, search “three;cornered” [AND] “hopper%” [OR] “festin%” <all as keywords> [AND] “Smith” <in author>. Because this species had been placed in various genera, a wildcard form of the specific name, “festin%”, was searched in addition to variants of the common name.

To locate Carl Stål’s works with new species of Auchenorrhyncha, search “new;species” OR “n.;sp%” OR “sp%;nov%” <all as keywords> [AND] “Stal” <in author>. For Stål’s papers with new genera, search “new;gen%” OR “n.;gen%” OR “gen%;nov%”<all as keywords> [AND] “Stal” <in author>. Such searches may be further limited by specifying a time period: for example, append [ADD] with either a year “1869” or a 10-year period “186%”) <in date>. These examples take into account that new generic and specific names are often indicated in a variety of ways (new genus, new genera, n. gen., genus novum, gen. nov.; new species, n. sp., n. spp., sp. nov., spp. nov., species nova, nova species).

To learn what leafhoppers (Cicadellidae, at times called Jassidae) are associated with cotton (genus Gossypium), search the following as <keywords>: “cicadellid%|jassid%|leaf;hopper%” [AND] “cotton|Gossypium”. This search assumes that either common names or scientific names may be used in the literature for the insect groups as well as their associated host plants.