Miller Center Site Search Help

Miller Center Site Search Help


  1. Introduction
  2. Changing the Default Logical Operator
  3. Searching for Quoted Phrases
  4. Filtering Results with Facets


To help users navigate, we provide a search engine with robust query specification features. Most people can solve their information needs simply by entering a keyword or two in the search engine's query box. For more complex questions, however, the search engine's  advanced operators may be helpful. This document explains how to use our search engine to maximum effect.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • The drop-down selector changes the logic of a search.
  • Enclose words in quotation marks to search for an exact phrase.
  • Click on the orange boxes (facets) to filter results by document type.

Changing the Default Logical Operator

By default, the search engine analyzes each query and returns documents that contain any of the terms the user submitted. If we type a query with two words, say, Vietnam War, into the search engine, results will include:

  • Documents that contain both words, Vietnam and War
  • Documents that contain the word Vietnam (but not War)
  • Documents that contain the word War (but not Vietnam)

The search engine will try to put the most relevant documents near the top of its results, so the default  behavior is sufficient for many scenarios.

However, if the default operator is returning too much non-relevant material, you can change the behavior by using the supplied drop-down selector from any terms to all terms. As the names imply, this change imposes a stricter rule on what gets returned. In the context of our previous example, instead of three classes of documents, all terms would return only documents that contain both Vietnam and war.

The set of results for an all terms search will always be smaller than (or the same size as) an any terms search's results.

Searching for Quoted Phrases

Wrapping search terms in quotation marks tells the search engine to mark a document as a hit against this term only if it contains that exact phrase.  

For example, consider the query Truman Doctrine. As of this writing, a default search of that query retrieves 1,240 documents, many of which seem non-relevant (e.g. the second and third hits are about the Obama Doctrine and the Bush doctrine, respectively). To improve these results, we might search: "Truman Doctrine," which returns only 21 documents, all of which appear to be relevant.

Filtering Results with Facets

At the top of each result page, the search engine includes a group of "facets"—orange boxes labeled:

  • Miller Center Scholars
  • Oral History Interviews
  • Presidential Biographies
  • Presidential Recordings
  • Presidential Speeches
  • Public Events

Clicking on one of these boxes will filter your search results to include only that class. For instance, if you searched using our example query (Bush OR Obama OR Trump) AND NAFTA NOT Clinton, you could click on the "Public Events" facet to limit results only to pages describing Miller Center events on post-Clinton NAFTA issues.