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Searching within the full text

What is it?

Most search tools default to searching for your keywords in the title, author, subject heading and abstract of a document. 

Searching within the full text differs from this in that when you set up a search to search within the full text, not only are you searching within the title, author, subject headings, and abstract fields, you are searching within the full text of the document itself.

Why use it?

Searching within the full text is particularly useful if you're trying to focus in on a very specific word or phrase which you are having difficulty finding. 

It is also very useful when searching ebook collections, as you can skip to the instances of the words or phrases you searched, without having to browse through entire books, which can be a timesaver.

How does it work?

Most databases will have a search option to search within the full text, which you can toggle on and off as required.

Refer to the help guide of the search tool you are using to determine if this is an option.


Searching within the full text often yields many more results, some of which will be irrelevant, so more thorough vetting of the results set is required.  It's a bit of a tradeoff -- what you lose in precision you gain in a more thorough search of the documents.  If you find you are getting too many irrelevant results when searching within the full text, revert back to the default search settings.