Search – Tips & Troubleshooting

Where are the “most recent” uploads?

This feature is limited to the top media types seen on the left of the top black navigation bar.

These are the top media types:

Click on your preferred media type icon in the top black navigation bar.

Click the This Just In link.

The most recent items will appear on the page.

Using the following will help you to refine your search:

  • Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT). To find out more about Boolean operators, click here.
  • asterisks as a wildcard  
  • parenthesis to group
  • quotes to constrain or literalize
  • Use common metadata keys/terms – collection, date, description, identifier, ISBN, mediatype, publicdate, subject, title

To search for items using a title, quotation marks, and Boolean operators:

For example, I want to find a collection of texts about Charlie Chaplin.

  • Insert the word title: into the search bar.
  • Use quotation marks to constrain or literalize “Chaplin”
  • The Boolean operator AND to include the media type: texts.
  • It will look like this: title: “Chaplin” AND mediatype:texts

The search result would display as below.

If you would like to explore the above example search result, click on the link below.

https://archive.org/search.php?query=title:”Chaplin” AND mediatype:texts

To search for an item/author using a wildcard or fuzzy search:

For example, I would like to find the works of an author called “Monroe.”

  • In the search bar, type the word creator:
  • Followed by the name *Monroe* (using the asterisks)
  • It would look like this: Creator:*Monroe*

If you would like to explore the above example go to:

https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator:*Monroe*

To search for multiple subjects using parenthesis to group:

For example, I would like to search for items on butterflies and flowers as a group.

  • Insert the word subject: in the search bar.
  • Place “butterflies AND flowers” in parenthesis to indicate that this is a group.
  • Subject: (butterflies AND flowers)
  • It will look like this: subject:(butterflies AND flowers)

To explore the above example, go to: https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject:(butterflies AND flowers)

To search for a publish date range using [ ] and Boolean operators:

For example, I would like to find all the works by Shakespeare that fall within a certain date range.

  • Insert creator: in the search bar
  • Followed by Shakespeare
  • Followed by AND date [date range]
  • It will look like this: creator: Shakespeare AND date:[1700-01-01 TO 1800-01-01]

To explore the above example, go to:

https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator:Shakespeare AND date:[1700-01-01 TO 1800-12-31]

My search encountered an error. Why?

The query is likely malformed. Some characters and punctuation can cause an error in a search.

Examples are colons, apostrophes, percentage symbol, and others. Some characters may have escaped.

For example, when a space escaped as %20, it will look like the shots below:

Instead of

The space escapes as seen below, followed by an error message. 

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