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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Clean Water Fund > Additional Resources > Minnesota Water Research Digital Library > Search Tips > Advanced Search

Search Tips

Advanced Search

    There are many ways to refine a search in the Minnesota Water Research Digital Library. You can conduct highly customized searches using special features of the Search page in combination with simple tips and tricks for entering search terms.

    Choosing “All” or “Any”

    By default, a search will find records containing all of the terms you enter in the Search Bar. Use the drop-down box below the Search Bar to switch from ALL to ANY as needed (see Figure 1).

    The default ALL option is more restrictive. For example, a search for red river valley finds only records that contain a match for all three of the words entered.

    To broaden a search, select ANY. For example, a search for red river valley using the ANY option finds all records that contain a match for any one of the three words entered red or river or valley.

    Changing All and Any
    Figure 1. Selecting Any or All


    Using Quote Marks to Narrow Searches

    Adding quote marks around a search term narrows your results to records that contain the exact terms entered in the exact order you entered them. For example, entering "minnesota river" in the Search Bar produces many fewer results than entering minnesota river.

    Tip iconUsing quote marks around search terms is different than using the Find ALL option. For example, quote marks are advised if you want to find records containing the exact phrase “water restoration protection.” If you enter the same words without quote marks, the Library searches for all three words anywhere in a record, not necessarily all in the same field within a record; for example, the results might include a record that contains water in the Title and Abstract fields, restoration only in the Abstract, and protection only in Tags.

    Tip iconIf your search term includes a partial word such as hydro, entering underscores before and after (e.g., _hydro_) or percent signs before and after (e.g., %hydro%), which will prompt the Library to search for terms with one or more character before or after hydro.

    Filtering Your Search

    To reveal the filters available on the Search page, click the “Advanced Search” heading under the Search Bar. You will find three sets of filters (described below and in Figure 2) that allow you to narrow searches by main topic and other attributes. All of the filters may be used individually or in combination.

    Tip iconCreate more space for viewing your search results by click the “Advanced Search” heading to roll up the filters once you are done using them.

    Advanced Search
    Figure 2. Advanced Search Table

    The leftmost set of filters in Figure 2 allows you to search selected fields only, instead of all six of the fields searched by default (Title, Abstract, Tags, Journal, Author, Organization).

    warning icon At least one of the six fields must be selected in order for the Library to perform a search.

    Below are descriptions of how the Library searches for terms when each field is selected.

    Title: When this box is checked, all titles in the Library are searched. Every article in the Library has a title.

    Abstract: When this box is checked, all abstracts in the Library are searched.

    warning icon Not all articles have an abstract. In fact, a significant percentage of articles in the Library are government reports and other non-peer-reviewed works that lack abstracts. Also, copyright restrictions sometimes prevent us from displaying abstracts that do exist.

    Tags: When this field is selected, the Library finds articles with tags (keywords) that match or correspond to the search terms entered. All articles are assigned at least three tags.

    Journal: When this box is checked, the titles of all journals associated with articles in the Library are searched.

    warning icon Not all articles are journal articles. In fact, a significant percentage of articles in the Library are government reports that are were not (or are not yet) published in a journal.

    Tip iconIf you enter a search term commonly featured in journal titles, such as water, you may want to deselect the Journal field to exclude articles that would otherwise appear in the results solely due to the journal title.

    Author: When this box is checked, the names of all persons who authored or co-authored articles in the Library are searched. Last names are searched as well as first and middle names or initials.

    Tip iconAll articles have one or more persons assigned as the author unless no specific persons are identified as authors in the document; in that case, we attribute the article to one or more organizations, which are searched in the Organizations field.

    Tip icon For projects, the Author search includes project leaders, project managers and principal investigators.

    Organization: When this box is checked, the names of organizations that created, sponsored, funded, or contributed to articles in the Library are searched. Associated organizations may or may not be recorded for a given article.

    warning icon Not all articles in the Library are authored by or affiliated with organizations.


    The middle set of filters (see Figure 2) allows users to restrict searches to articles that are peer-reviewed, research that includes or was conducted in (or about) Minnesota, and/or research funded at least partly by the Clean Water Fund.  These filters can be used individually or cumulatively.
    See individual definitions below:

    Peer Reviewed: Selecting this filter limits the search results to peer reviewed articles – meaning articles that underwent a formal process of evaluation by the author(s)’ peers to provide credibility and determine the work’s suitability for publication. We designate articles as peer reviewed only if the journal in which the article is published, if applicable, or the article itself, clearly describes a formal peer review process that the article underwent.

    warning icon A significant percentage of articles in the Library are not peer-reviewed. Most of these are government reports.

    Tip iconTo see all peer-reviewed articles in the Library, enter % (percent sign) in the Search Bar and select the Peer Reviewed filter.

    warning icon The Library does not have its own peer review process. (See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for details about how articles are selected for the Library.) Nor does an article’s peer-reviewed designation equate to endorsement of the article by the Library or its host and partner organizations. (See Library Policies, Terms of Use and Disclaimers.)

    Minnesota: Selecting this filter limits the search results to articles about research or research-related activities conducted in, partly in, or about Minnesota. This filter helps users identify articles likely to contain Minnesota-specific data.

    warning icon The Minnesota filter is about the research, not the home institution of the researcher or author. Researchers based in colleges and universities in other states sometimes conduct research in or about Minnesota. Conversely, this field will not be marked “yes” solely because an author is based at a Minnesota research university – again, it’s about the research, not the researcher.

    Tip icon To see all articles in the Library about studies that took place in or about Minnesota, enter % (percent sign) in the Search Bar and select the Minnesota filter. The list will include most articles in the Library

    Clean Water Funded: Selecting this filter limits the search results to studies that received Clean Water Fund money appropriated by the Minnesota legislature.

    Tip iconTo see all articles in the Library about studies that received Clean Water Fund money, enter % (percent sign) in the Search Bar and select the Clean Water Funded filter.

    To search for articles on selected water research topics, use the Main Topic filters (the rightmost set of filters in Figure 3). Every article in the Library is assigned to one or more of the 16 Main Topics defined below. These are general cross-cutting water research categories that help describe articles.

    Drinking Water  Research focused on water used for human consumption.

    Groundwater  Articles focused on water below ground and in aquifers, and the geologic materials in which it occurs.

    Surface Water  Literature about water on the surface of the earth such as lakes, rivers, streams, ditches and wetlands.

    Urban & Industrial Stormwater  Articles on runoff from population centers and industrial areas that enters surface water directly via storm sewers and pipes.

    Agricultural Drainage  Research about the removal of excess water from agricultural fields via surface and subsurface drainage.

    Wastewater  Research about water that transports human or animal waste, and water leaving treatment facilities.

    Water Quality & Pollutants  Literature on water quality parameters and implications for the health and well-being of humans and other life. Includes research on pollutants such as excess sediment and nutrients, pesticides, mercury, bacteria, and contaminants of emerging concern.

    Water Use & Availability  Articles related to water availability, supply, storage, usage, and water use planning.

    Water Conveyance & Hydraulics  Research related to pipes, wells, pumping stations and other infrastructure used to pump or convey water.

    Hydrology  Research about flooding, stream flow, discharge, channel stability, drought, and aspects of the hydrologic cycle such as evapotranspiration, precipitation, and infiltration.

    Water Biology & Aquatic Habitat  Articles about limnology, stream ecology, aquatic ecology and biology including fish, amphibians, plant and animal plankton, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic microbes, aquatic plants, thermal ecology of aquatic systems, riparian habitat, and bottom substrates.

    Water Monitoring & Assessment  Analysis and interpretation of water monitoring data as well as research on sampling and assessment methods and technologies.

    Water Restoration & Protection  Research on implementation activities to restore and protect water and watersheds, including but not limited to research on the effectiveness of conservation and best management practices.

    Water Education, Outreach & Community Capacity  Research on social dimensions of water resource management, including the role of education, outreach, civic engagement, and community capacity in changing people’s awareness, knowledge, and behavior.

    Water Economics  Literature on topics such as water pricing and valuation, cost -benefit analysis, and environmental markets for water quality.

    Water Policy  Articles about water policy and governance, including but not limited to voluntary and regulatory programs.

    Selecting a Main Topic limits your search to articles assigned to that topic. Selecting multiple Main Topics limits your search to articles assigned to any or all of the selected topics. For example, selecting Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Water Economics together will return all articles assigned to any one, two or all three of these topics.

    Tip iconTo see all articles in the Library assigned to a particular main topic, enter % (percent sign) in the Search Bar and select the topic. Entering % can be combined with using filters.


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