First look: the Advanced Search option

A few weeks ago, we gave you a first glimpse of the BHL-Europe portal’s design. This time around we delve deeper into one of its functionalities, i.e. the advanced search option.

When doing an advanced search via the BHL-Europe portal, you can use the Boolean operators and other search intelligent characters, like the wildcards, brackets, ... These functions are described on the hint bar on the lower part of the advanced search page. You can, for instance, search for an exact phrase or search for a range of years. Of course, there are even more functions:

Metadata fields

The advanced search allows you to search in an specific metadata field or search category. First and foremost is the title, which represents titles for all content types (Journal/Series, Volumes, Articles and Monograph). The other  fields include Author, Year, Language, Place of publication, Scientific name, Common name etc. There are 11 search categories which are extended in combination with the facet function in the result list . This faceting will be described in detail in the next development news update.

Add a field

For combining searches across several metadata fields, you can click the plus button on the left side of the icon to add a field. The number of search fields is not limited and you can combine fields to get the most precise search result. The default relationship between added search fields is the Boolean operator “AND”. Clicking a minus button at the other end of the field will remove the specific search field.  It’s important to remember that searches can also be improved when viewing the result list by making use of the facet list or editing the search.

Exact search

The functionality of the exact term/phrase check box is pretty much self-explanatory. This function can be used as a global parameter to enforce exact searching across all fields, or it can be specified for a specific search field by checking the check box inside the field.

Expand search

Checking this box enables you to use the additional web services as a CoL, uBio, PESI and VIAF. These services help with searching for authors, scientific names or common names by using external name databases. This search expansion will let you find the result even when you do not know the exact name for which you are searching.

For example if I am searching for author Darwin and have checked expand search, the web service is expanding the query to include many different formulations of Darwin‘s name including for example Chinese, Arabic or Russian translations of that name. In the result list generated from this search could be Darwin publications translated in to different languages. For scientific names the web services also looks for synonyms of that genus or species or related common names.

The  expand search function works as a global parameter, but affects only the metadata fields author, scientific name and common name.


Reset is a self explanatory function. Clicking on the reset button will clear the whole search string.

Save query

If you are logged in you can save your search parameter under a specific name and load it when you would like to continue your search. The number of search queries is not limited. Save queries are stored under the “My queries”-menu. This functionality will be available soon.

That’s all on the advanced search function. Be sure to check back for the next development news, which will focus on the search result list. This list is generated after you click the browse button.

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