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Detailed Search

Quick Tips and Examples
It's easy to search with our Site Search tool. Just type in a few words or phrases. Try to use discriminating terms that are likely to be found only in the Web pages you seek. The more words you give, the better results you'll get. Here are some ways you can search:

Search by typing words and phrases.
Search: Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri

Our Site Search will find documents containing as many of these words and phrases as possible, ranked so that the documents most relevant to your query are presented first. Results will include Reader's Guides, and Press Releases as well as pages from our Web catalog.

Don't worry about missing a document because it doesn't have one of the words in your search — the search returns relevant results even if they don't contain all the query terms.

Identify phrases with quotation marks, separated by commas.
Search: "Interpreter of Maladies", "Jhumpa Lahiri"

If you enter a phrase using double quotation marks, only matches in which those words appear adjacent to each other will be shown. Separate multiple phrases or proper names with a comma.

Use UPPERCASE to indicate an exact match. Search terms in all lowercase will match words in either case. Capitalization can reduce the ambiguity. It is always a good idea to capitalize proper names.

Using ? and * to search
If you are unsure about the spelling of a word, you can use ? (question mark) and * (asterisk) to search.


The searches will produce results for Lahiri. You can also use the ? and * as wildcards.

Refining a Search
It's easy to refine a query to get precisely the results you want. Here are some effective techniques to try:

Identify a phrase.
Lord of the Rings
Better: "Lord of the Rings"

Identifying " Lord of the Rings" as a phrase eliminates the ambiguity. This is the most powerful query refinement technique.

Add a discriminating word or a phrase.
"Lord of the Rings"
Better: "Lord of the Rings" movie

As before, the first query is ambiguous. Adding "movie" makes the query less ambiguous. You'll get more total matches (because the query is broadened with an additional term), but the relevance ranking will be better.

Use a require or reject operator (+, -).
Lord of the Rings
Better: Lord of the Rings, +Alan Lee -press release

Lord of the Rings can be ambiguous. You can use the reject operator (minus sign) to eliminate any press releases we have on our site. Or you can require that the phrase "Alan Lee" be in the document. The second version above does both.

Use a field specifier.
Lord of the Rings
Better: Lord of the Rings, title: press release +anniversary

If you are looking for a particular page whose title you know, use title: field specifier to search for that the word or phrase in the site or title of the page. The results in the second version above will give you all the Lord of the Rings with "press release" in the title or "anniversary" on the page. See Special Searches section (below) for more information on searching by field specifiers.

Special Searches
You can restrict searches to certain portions of Web documents by using Search field syntax. This allows you to search for web pages' titles, URLs, embedded hypertext links, and any additional information defined with an HTML meta tag. The field name should be lowercase, followed directly by a colon. There should be no spaces after the colon and before the search terms.

URL search:
Finds pages with the word press_release or readers_guides anywhere in the page's URL. For example, type directly into the search field:


You can use this feature to take a look at all our reader's guides or press releases.

Link search:

Matches pages that contain at least one link to a page with www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/booksellers/press_release/ in its URL.

Title search:
title:"curious george"

Finds pages with the phrase "curious george" in the title portion defined with the HTML meta title tag for the pages.

Requiring or Excluding Terms
Our search has a simple query syntax that gives you the pinpoint search power of Boolean logic without having to remember complex queries. The table below shows the Search operators that correspond to Boolean operators:

Search operator Boolean equivalent
default operator: no special symbols needed OR
phrase operator: enclose the phrase with double quotation marks ADJ

Boolean queries use the logical operators AND, OR, NOT, and ADJ (adjacent). If you wanted to find Lord of the Rings lesson plans that contain Gollum but didn't want any of the suggested activities or movie info included in the results, you could specify the query in Boolean logic as:

(Lord ADJ of ADJ the ADJ Rings) AND (Gollum OR (lesson ADJ plan)) AND NOT (suggested activities OR movie)

Using the operators, the complex query above can be typed into the search box as:

+"Lord of the Rings" Gollum "lesson plan" -suggested activities, -movie

This query specifies that:

• All returned documents must contain the phrase "Lord of the Rings."

• Documents containing one or more of the terms "Lord of the Rings," lesson plan, or "Gollum" will be ranked at the top (the more terms matched, the higher the ranking).

• None of the documents returned will contain either the movie or suggested activities.

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