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Search syntax for Quicklaw, WestlawNext Canada and CanLII

FEATURE QUICKLAW WESTLAWNEXT CANADA CANLII
Default connector Defaults to phrase search unless using natural language search option Defaults to plain language search unless proximity command or truncation used in query


Boolean queries, including all Search in Result refinements, default to OR
Defaults to AND
Searching without Boolean commands Use natural language option under Basic Search on Home page Type terms into query box without connectors or truncation Type terms into query box without connectors
Order in which Boolean commands are evaluated 1. phrase
2. terms in parentheses
3. OR
4. proximity connectors (/n, PRE/n, /S, /P, /SEG)
5. AND
6. AND NOT
1. phrase in quotation marks
2. terms in parentheses
3. OR
4. proximity connectors (+n, /n, +S, /S, +P, /P)
5. AND
6. %
1. phrase in quotation marks
2. terms in parentheses
3. OR
4. proximity connectors (/n, /S, /P)
5. NOT
6. AND
Unordered proximity searches /n (within the number of words represented by n)


/S (within the same sentence)


/P (within the same paragraph)


/SEG (within the same segment or field)

/n (within the number of words represented byn)


/S (within the same sentence)


/P (within the same paragraph)

/n (within the number of words represented by n)


/S (within the same sentence)


/P (within the same paragraph)

Ordered proximity searches PRE/n (within the number of words represented by n) +n (within the number of words represented byn)


+S (within the same sentence)


+P (within the same paragraph)

Phrase searching Quotation marks not required unless a word in the phrase is a connector or a stopped word. Use quotation marks to force phrase search. Some automatic phrase recognition in plain language searching. Use quotation marks to force phrase search. Some automatic phrase recognition for adjacent terms.
Parentheses permitted – can be nested permitted – can be nested permitted – can be nested
Plurals and word variations Searches for plural forms of singular and the reverse, and both masculine and feminine forms, unless feature is turned off In plain language searching looks for standard word variations; in Boolean automatically searches for plural forms of singular but not the reverse Automatically searches for plural and singular, and for standard word variations unless EXACT command is used
Truncation negligen! negligen! negligen*
Wild characters reali*ation reali*ation reali*ation
Hyphens hyphen is treated as a space


should therefore search as one word and as two words if term may be hyphenated

automatically searches for hyphenated search term as one word, as two words, and as hyphenated


should therefore search using hyphenated form

automatically searches for hyphenated search term as a phrase and as a hyphenated term but not as one word


should therefore search as one word and as hyphenated term

Periods and Acronyms period is treated as a space unless used with numbers or in an acronym


should therefore search with and without periods if term may include periods

if acronym is entered with periods, automatically searches for acronym with and without periods and spaces


should therefore search for acronym with periods

acronyms will be found whether searching with or without periods


should search with periods if searching for number string that contains periods (eg., 13.7)

Default ranking method Case searches use relevancy ranking but can be changed when viewing results to several other rankings, including citation frequency


Statute searches sort by chapter and section number but can be changed to other rankings

Default for Boolean and plain language searches is relevancy ranking; can change ranking when viewing results to several other rankings, including citation frequency


Ranking for Abridgment Digests is by classification order rather than by relevancy
Default is relevancy ranking; can change to ranking by date, court level or citation frequency when viewing search results
Text being searched cases and journals – whole document is searched unless field search is specified


statutes – search terms must appear in a single section


texts – search terms must appear in section of text designated as a document

cases and journals – whole document is searched unless field search is specified


statutes – search terms must appear in a single section


texts – search terms must appear in section of text designated as a document

cases – whole document is searched unless field search is performed


statutes – whole Act or regulation is searched

Field searching select from template select from template expand search box and use 2nd box for name or citation search
Display default display is list of documents, with ability to display with key words, or with search terms in context; can locate directly to search terms from snippet


statutes are by section, but contiguous sections can be viewed by using Document Browse feature

user controls snippet size in results display, can locate directly to search terms from snippet; highlighting colour distinguishes between original terms and refined terms


statutes and CED are by section, but contiguous sections can be viewed using links

default display is list of documents, with computer-generated keywords and snippets


user can control highlighting of search terms in retrieved documents

Refining results can group search results by topic, jurisdiction, court; use Modify Search to modify; use Narrow Search to refine; refine QuickCite results using options on result page use Search in Result to refine search results; refine KeyCite results by filters, including searching within Citing References and by Depth of Treatment query box appearing with results list allows modification and refinement of search, including refinement of RefLex (note-up) results

 

References

Tredwell, Susannah, “The Joy of Wildcards (and Boolean operators)” (1 September 2011) online: slaw <www.slaw.ca>