Advanced Search Tips

You can perform complex searches by typing search terms and operators into search boxes. Operators can be used in any of the search boxes. Available search operators are:

  • AND: By default searches automatically put AND between terms. Searching for [amazing grace] will return results that have [amazing] AND [grace] in them.
  • NOT: Put [-] in front of a term to indicate that you'd like to exclude it. Searching for [amazing -grace] will return results that have [amazing] but NOT [grace] in them. Note: if you have multiple terms, the operator only applies to the first. [a -mighty fortress] will return results that have [a] and [fortress] but not [mighty] in them.
  • OR: Put [|] between terms for which either term can be in the result. Searching for [amazing | grace] will return results that have [amazing] OR [grace] in them. Note: This operator only affects the two terms closest to it, so [a mighty | fortress] returns results that have [a] and [mighty] OR [a] and [fortress] OR [a] and [mighty] and [fortress].
  • Phrase search: Put ["] around your search terms to search for an exact phrase. Searching for ["amazing grace"] will only return results that have [amazing grace] in them.
  • Field start and field end: Use [^] to indicate the beginning of the field and [$] to indicate the end of the field. Searching for [^amazing grace$] will return results that start with [amazing] and end with [grace].

You can type multiple search terms into the "Search the entire Hymnary" box. For example, you could type

firstLine:"amazing grace" refrainFirstLine:"O how I love Jesus" in:Hymns

The available terms are shown below.

  • firstLine
  • refrainFirstLine
  • textTitle
  • fullText
  • meter
  • media
  • textClassification
  • textSources
  • textAuthNumber
  • languages
  • tuneTitle
  • tuneKey
  • incipit
  • tuneAuthNumber
  • tuneSources
  • personName
  • personYear
  • yearWritten
  • personID
  • scripture
  • publicationDate
  • publicationPlace
  • publisher
  • denominations
  • tags

There are also some special combination terms:

  • textName: firstLine, refrainFirstLine, textTitle
  • hymnalNumber: hymnalID, hymnalTitle, number
  • topics: topics, liturgicalUse

Researchers who wish to search a certain subset of hymnals, e.g. shape note hymnals, can either create a new account and use the "my hymnals" feature or talk to us about tagging hymnals so that everyone can make that characteristic a part of their searches.