First, be aware that in the following examples, when quoted text is provided, you should not include the quotation marks in your entries.
Click checkboxes(s) to denote a word boundary at the beginning and/or end of entry. Example: If checkbox at left of entry “Smith” is checked and right checkbox is unchecked, will find Smith, Smithson, but not Blacksmith. In a text search, entering “hate” will find hate, hateful, and whatever, etc., unless you limit your search with word boundaries. Checking the left checkbox only will find hate and hateful but not whatever. Checking both checkboxes will only find the word hate.
If you know how to use regular expressions, you can include them in your search criteria. One you may find useful is “.*” which means one or more of any character including spaces (the period signifies any single character, and the asterisk signifies zero or more instances of it). So if you don't know if the name you're looking for is (for example) “Van Dam” or “VanDam”, you can enter it as “Van.*Dam”. You could also enter it as “van.*dam”, since searches are case-insensitive.
Another regular expression you can use allows you to search for either of two or more words or phrases. For example, suppose you wanted to look for word1 and either word2 or word3. You can enter word1 in the first entry field, and in the second field, enter “(word2|word3)”.
Here's a real-life example. The following are from three separate letters:
• the Iraq war has made us less safe and has inflamed the whole Middle East and is helping al-Qaida attract new recruits. (Robert Mattson, Highland, Sep. 23, 2006)
• The war in Iraq has inflamed the whole Middle East and is helping al-Qaida attract new recruits. (Gene Sigalas, Newburgh, Sep. 3, 2006)
• The war in Iraq has inflamed the whole Middle East and is helping al-Qaida attract new recruits. (Rob Ross, Holmes, Aug. 20, 2006a)
This will find them all: “the (Iraq war|war in Iraq).*has inflamed the whole Middle East and is helping al-Qaida attract new recruits.” If one of them had preceded “Iraq War” with the word “stupid”, e.g., your query could find them all if you modified it thus: “the (stupid )*(Iraq war|war in Iraq).*has inflamed the whole Middle East and is helping al-Qaida attract new recruits.” In this instance, what's within the parentheses can appear zero or more times. If it's zero, you must account for the fact that there is only one space character, but if it's one, there is an additional space.
Square brackets (“[” and “]”) are used to signify optional characters. “[abcABC]”, e.g., matches one instance of the letters “a”, “b”, or “c” in upper or lower case. They also recognize ranges, such as “a-z” (signifying all lower case letters) and “0-9” (signifying all numerical digits). To find “Smith” or “Smyth”, enter “Sm[yi]th” (or “Sm[iy]th”).
If you leave all entry fields in a section (name or text) blank, it will be ignored. Example: If you enter “Jones” in a name field, and “Nazi” in a text field, all letters by someone named Jones with the word Nazi in the text will be returned. If you leave all name fields blank, all letters with the word Nazi will be returned. Conversely, if you enter Jones in a name field and leave all letter text fields blank, all letters from Jones will be the result.
Note: This search is not limited to authors' names, but can include anything in the Author field, which includes residences and position titles.
Note: The determination of a letters “Bias” is made by yours truly. You may not agree with it in all instances.
You can now enter a minimum and/or maximum date. If you want just a particular date, enter that date in both fields. The date format is flexible - you can enter it in any standard format.
You can use "or" rather than "|" in text search fields. Example: "left or right" is equivalent to "left|right".