University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States


Electronic Text Help


About Electronic Text

The electronic text interface allows you to experience digital books, letters, journals and analogous text-based materials similar to the way you would use the original resources.

Typically, text-based materials included in this database are scanned cover to cover (including blank pages). The text on every page is captured and processed using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. This enables you to perform a full-text search -- a search that includes all of the text that appears within the resource. Additionally, basic descriptive information such as title, author, publisher, and chapter-level headings are searchable.

Handwritten texts or texts that contain non-standard characters cannot be processed using OCR software. However, the title, author, publisher, chapter-level headings, and other pertinent descriptive information are searchable.

Electronic Facsimile vs. Encoded Text

Our interface intermingles two types of marked-up texts. In addition to the Electronic Facsimile described above, the interface displays Encoded Texts. Encoded texts are marked up using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines. There are many similarities in how these two types of texts are handled in this database. As a result, you may not notice that you have moved from one type of text to another as you search the database. An important difference to note is that an electronic facsimile includes page images and uncorrected text generated from an OCR software application. An Encoded Text is a new electronic edition of the original work rather than a facsimile of a print edition. Additionally, if illustrations appear in the original document, they are reproduced and appear in their appropriate location within the resource.


Browsing allows you to view the following list of resources within a collection:

All non-journal titles in the collection, such as monographs or letters.
All discrete subcollections in the collection. For example, selecting "World War II" subcollection will provide a list of all World War II resources within the History Collection.
All authors in the collection, organized by author's last name.
All journals in the collection, listed by authorized heading.

Note that not all items are included on every list. For example, items without an author are not available in the "Author" list.

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Several options are available for searching the electronic text database:

For information on displaying results sets for each of these search parameters, review Search Results.

Phrase (Simple) Search

Follow the Search link in the navigation menu (located in the left-hand column) to access the main Search page. A Phrase (Simple) Search locates single words or phrases that appear in the text. Note: you cannot use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine search terms in a Phrase search. To learn more about Boolean operators, review Boolean search. You may also access the phrase search screen by following the Simple Search link located on either the Boolean or Proximity search pages.

Performing a Phrase (Simple) Search

Phrase (Simple) Search Limits

Use options available on the pull-down menu to search the Entire Work or limit a search to Title, Author, or Illustrations.

Entire Work
Locate your search term or phrase anywhere within the resource.
Locate your search term or phrase in title fields.
Locate your search term or phrase in author fields (search by last name, first name).
Locate your search term or phrase in illustration content located within electronic texts. A Phrase search on illustrations will return a partial description of images using the specified search term. Note this search strategy is only functional for electronic texts and not electronic facsimiles.

From the pull down menu, select the default selection All to search an entire collection. To further narrow a search, select a specific Title or Subcollection.

Search material within a chosen subcollection. For example, selecting the World War II subcollection will allow you to search all the World War II resources in the History Collection.
Search only within a chosen journal or series.
Other Titles
Search only within a chosen item.

Example of Phrase or Simple Search

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Boolean Search

Boolean search logic uses the operators AND, OR, or NOT to further narrow a search. To access the Boolean search screen, follow the Boolean Search link located on either the Phrase or Proximity search pages.

Using Boolean Operators

Boolean operator
Will retrieve:
dance AND voice All items that contain both terms.
dance OR voice All items that contain either term, including those with both terms.
(Zuni OR Oneida) NOT voice All items that contain either Zuni OR Oneida but do NOT contain voice.
combination of
AND and OR
(Zuni OR Oneida) AND voice All items that contain either Zuni OR Oneida AND that also contain voice.

Note that NOT is a very powerful operator and may return an insufficient result set if used incorrectly. For example, the search ((Zuni OR Onieda) NOT voice) will exclude every record containing the term voice, even if the record contains Zuni and/or Oneida. This may exclude pertinent records.

Boolean Search Limits

To perform a Boolean search, you must first define the scope of operation for your search using Page or Paragraph, Section, or Entire Work.

Page or Paragraph
Terms are matched within the same page of electronic facsimiles, or within the same paragraph of electronic texts.
Terms are matched within an intellectual division of the work, such as a chapter, a preface, or an index.
Entire Work
Terms are matched within an entire work.

As with Phrase or Proximity searching, you may narrow your search parameters to a specific title or subcollection. You may truncate search terms in a Boolean search.

Example of Boolean Search

Limiting Results

If your search result set is larger than 100 records, you may limit viewing to the first 100 records, a sample of any 100 records matching your search, or all records matching your search.

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Proximity Search

Proximity searching allows you to specify the distance between multiple search terms within one text. Follow the Proximity Search link on either the Phrase or Boolean search pages to access the proximity search screen.

Performing a Proximity Search

Terms A and Term B appear close to one another. Order does not matter within the number of words specified.
Followed by
Term A is followed by Term B within the number of words specified.
Not Near
Find Term A but exclude instances where Term B also appears. Order does not matter within the number of words specified.
Not Followed by
Term A is not followed by Term B within the number of words specified.

Example of Proximity Search

Limiting Results

As with Phrase (Simple) search, you may limit results sets greater than 100 records to viewing to the first 100 records, a sample of any 100 records matching your search, or all records matching your search.

Truncation (*)

To improve your search results, use the truncation symbol, * (asterisk), to replace any word ending. This strategy will retrieve all words that begin with the given letters. For example, searching root word dog* will return dog, dogs, dogged, dogma, etc. You may apply the truncation symbol only at the end of a word (i.e., you can't use wom*n to retrieve woman and women ). The truncation symbol may be used with multiple words in a phrase search (e.g. univers* educ*). You may truncate terms within Phrase (Simple), Boolean, or Proximity searches.

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Search Results

The Search Results page will display a maximum of 100 matches out of the total number returned. To view more results, follow the links at the page top or bottom, directing you to the next page of matches.

Note that the appearance of results sets varies, depending on the search strategy performed.

Entire Work

When searching Entire Work, the results set appears as shown below. The book or issue title, section or chapter title, and page(s) on which your search term(s) can be found are displayed in a hierarchical or nested manner. This structure provides a context for search results. Follow the various links to find the exact region containing the match, the first page of the article or section, or the electronic table of contents for the corresponding book or issue.

Example of Searching Entire Work

Note that results from electronic texts display somewhat differently. Instead of page numbers, you will see a short excerpt of text where your search terms appear.


Searching Titles returns a results set that resembles the list shown below. As with other results sets, search terms are highlighted within each title.

Example of Titles Displayed with Key Word


A search within Authors will return a list of all matching authors and their works, as shown below.

Example of Authors Displayed with Key Word

No Results

An unsuccessful search returns the error message shown below. This message will display "0" matches and provide suggestions for modifying the search strategy. Following the Modify Your Search link will return you to the original search page.

Example of Error Message Generated for Zero Results

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Item Display


Selecting an item from a browse or search results list takes you to the Contents view for that item. This page is an artificial table of contents, created to enhance usability of the electronic document. If a true table of contents exists in the original item, that table of contents page will be viewable from the electronic table of contents.

Example of Table of Contents

Contents contains four sub-sections -- navigation tools, description and source information, item-level searching, and the section- or chapter-level contents of the item.

Navigation Tools

The following navigation tools are located at the page top and bottom.

Volume Navigational Button
Selecting the Volume forward or back arrows takes you to the table of contents for the item that is listed directly before or directly after the current item.

Go To Page Navigational Button
Entering a page number in the Go to Page text box takes you directly to that page within the item.

When using Go to Page, please note:

1) The page number must be entered as it appears on the page (i.e., 1, 2, 3 or I, II, III).

2) If the original item contains unnumbered pages, those pages remain unnumbered in the electronic version and cannot be accessed using the Go to Page function.

3) If the original item contains duplicate page numbers, (i.e., all chapters start with page number "1"), entering page "1" will return all of the page number "1"s in the item.

Description and Source Information

Description and Source Information includes the name of the current item, bibliographical information about the item and the item's permanent URL, as shown below.

Example of Description and Source Information

Item-level Search

Item-level searching allows you to perform a full-text search within the current item. Note that this function depends on OCR availability and accuracy.

Item-level Searching: Search for word or phrase within this work

Section- or Chapter-level Description

Listed under Section- or Chapter-level Description are sections included within the item. Clicking on any link takes you to the page view of the first page of that section or chapter.

Example of Section- or Chapter-level Contents

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Page View

The Page View contains an image of the page, navigation tools, source information, and options for other page displays. Options for viewing page text, various image sizes, and page images for printing can be found within the left navigation bar.

Example of Page View

Change Page Size

Use the Change Page Size icons in the left navigation bar to view smaller or larger versions of the page image.

Display Page Text (OCR)

If a page has been processed using OCR, you may view the corresponding unedited page text. Displaying page text also allows you to locate your search term within the page text. Search terms will be highlighted.

Click Display Page Text to view page text.

Example of Display or OCR Page Text


To display and print a page, click Display Image for Printing located on the left navigation bar. Use your browser's print function to complete the print process.


You can choose to see the table of contents for the item by clicking on Contents. Navigate to the next or previous section (as defined in the table of contents) by clicking the arrows surrounding Section. Navigate to the next or previous page by clicking on the arrows surrounding Page. You may also enter an exact page number in the Go to Page box.

Navigation Options

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