Search help

This page provides basic information about the search and how to use it to its fullest potential.

Default search behaviour

When entering terms separated by spaces, the documents returned will match all the terms in the query. The more terms entered, the more precise the results will be. Note that all searches are case insensitive.

Search will match exact terms and stemmed variations of the terms. For example for the term walk, search will match the terms walk, walking, and walked.

Examples

Query: festival vancouver summer
Returns documents containing the terms festival and vancouver, and ummer in varying case.
Query: taxing
Returns documents containing the terms taxing, tax, and taxes in varying case.

Exact phrase matching

Surround the term or phrase in quotes to find documents matching an exact term or phrase. Using quotes also prevents stemming of search terms. Note that all searches are case insensitive.

Examples

Query: “registered savings plan”
Returns documents containing the phrase registered savings plan in varying case.
Query: “taxing”
Returns documents containing the terms taxing in varying case.

Wildcards

A wildcard is a character used to substitute a range of possible characters. For best results, apply quotes around the terms to avoid stemmed variations in the search results. The following wildcards are valid:

  • ? - Matches one character.
  • * - Matches zero, one or more characters.

Examples

Query: “p?rt”
Possible matches are port, part, etc. in varying case.
Query: “dep*t”
Possible matches include depot, deport, dept, depart, department, etc. in varying case.

Boolean search

Boolean search allows the use of logical expressions to find documents. The following Boolean operators are available:

  • AND - Returns documents containing both operands.
  • OR - Returns documents containing at least one of the operands.
  • NOT - Returns documents where the operand is not found. This operator applies only to the right operand.
  • XOR - Returns documents containing only one of the operands. If a document contains both terms, then it is not included in the results.

Examples

Query: maple AND hockey
Returns documents containing maple and hockey
Query: federal OR provincial
Returns documents containing federal, provincial, or both.
Query: NOT pension
Returns documents that do not contain pension.
Query: department XOR agency
Returns documents containing department or agency, but not both.

Proximity search

Proximity search finds documents where terms are found within a maximum distance from one another. Adjacent terms are considered to be 1 term apart. If no distance is specified, the distance defaults to 6.

  • NEARn - Returns documents where the right term is within n words of the left term.

Examples

Query: youth NEAR career
A possible result would be a document containing the phrase “The Career Focus program offers youth a range of work experiences.” Note that in this document the terms are within four words apart.
Query: daily NEAR1 news
Returns documents containing the expression daily news. The query could also return news daily.

Left hand menu search options

The search function allows users to limit their results by date range, PSPC Service, audience, and/or file type. These options can be found in the left hand menu navigation of the search results page.

Users can choose to limit results using one choice from each category. The date ranges are currently limited to documents that have been modified within the last week, month or year. Using the—Limit Results by Service—option, users can limit results to one of the five major PSPC services: Buying and Selling, Payments and Pensions, Property and Buildings, Security, Corporate and Information Services, Translation, Terminology and Interpretation, or a sub-service (if available).

Results may also be limited by intended audience; however a document may be relevant to many audiences. There is also an option to view only HTML type documents (e.g. .html, .asp, .cfm, .jsp, .xml, etc.); selecting this option will eliminate all non-text based documents (e.g. PDFs, MS Word, MS Excel, Lotus WordPro, etc.).

The numbers in parentheses next to the Service and Audience options represent the number of documents that both meet the user's query and are part of the options filter parameters. This number is only accurate up to 2000; when numbers are greater than 2000 the system provides an estimate.

Field search

Many documents contain additional information relating to its content. This is referred to as metadata, and is captured in fields. A user can perform queries against specific fields to return relevant results. The following syntax is used to search fields:

  • field:expression - Returns documents where field matches expression.

The search supports four field searches:

  • reator - The institution or organization entered in the “creator” or “dc.creator” metadata field of the document.
  • Description - The summary text entered in the “description” or “dc.description” metadata field of the document.
  • Subject - The subject entered in the “subject” or “dc.subject” metadata field of the document.
  • Title - The title in the “title” or “dc.title” metadata field of the document.

Any terms included after the colon will be matched against the specified field. Once the search encounters AND, OR, NOT, or XOR in a query, it will match the remaining expression against the entire document.

Examples

Query: title:budget
Returns documents whose “title” or “dc.title” metadata field contains budget, in varying case.
Query: title:travel AND subject:tourism
Returns documents whose “title” or “dc.title” metadata field contains travel and whose “subject” or “dc.subject” field contains tourism, in varying case.
Query: title:“Immigration AND Passport
Returns documents whose “title” or “dc.title” metadata field contains the phrase Immigration and Passport.
Query: creator:“Parks Canada” AND shipwreck
Returns documents whose “creator” or “dc.creator” metadata field contains the phrase Parks Canada and the document contains shipwreck, in varying case.

URL search

Use the URL search to find documents from a particular website. Use the URL operator to match patterns in a document's URL. The following syntax is used:

  • URL:expression - Returns documents whose URL matches the expression.

Any terms included after the colon will be matched against the specified field. Once the search encounters AND, OR, NOT, or XOR in a query, it will match the remaining expression against the document.

Examples

Query: URL:lois.justice.gc.ca
Returns documents containing the expression lois.justice.gc.ca in the URL.
Query: URL:pwgsc
Returns documents containing pwgsc in the URL, for example, https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/medias-media/index-eng.html.

Advanced Search

There are two search interfaces: Basic and Advanced. This allows for more possibilities with a search queries. The Advanced interface provides a number of features not available in the Basic interface.

Language

By default, search will search for documents in the same language as the search page. Use the Language drop-down to search for documents in English only, French only, or both English and French. Note that by default stemming is turned on in the language of the search page, when searching in both languages place the search terms in quotes to turn off the stemming feature.

Date range

Searches can be done for documents that were last modified on a specific date or within a range of dates. To specify a range of dates, enter the dates in the From date field (start date) and the To date field (end date). To find a document that was last modified on a specific date, enter the same date in both the From date and the To date fields. The format of the date is always YYYY-MM-DD (four-digit year, two-digit month two-digit day).

File format

To search for documents in specific formats such as Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF, use the File format drop-down to narrow the search.

Number of results

By default, search will return 10 documents per results page. Use the Results drop-down box to view more than 10 results on a page.

Search navigation options

There are 4 search navigation options: Limit Results by Date, Limit Results by Service, Limit Results by Audience and Show only HTML File Types

Limit results by dates

These navigation options limit results based on the last-modified date that the Web server reported to the search server when it was collected. Past Week: Limits results to only documents that have been created or edited in the past 7 days. Past Month: Limits results to only documents that have been created or edited in the past month. Past Year: Limits results to only documents that have been created or edited in the past year.

Limit results by service

These navigation options limit results based on the PSPC service that the website is expected to represent. The PSPC search offers content for the following services and subservices:

  • Payments and Pensions
    • Payments
    • Pensions
  • Buying and Selling
    • Buying
    • Selling
  • Security, Corporate and Information Services
    • Corporate
    • Information
    • Security
  • Property and Buildings

Limit results by audience

These navigation options limit results based on the PSPC audiences. The PSPC search offers content for the following audiences:

  • Government
  • Canadians
  • Businesses
  • Media

Limit results by file formats

These navigation options limit results based on the type of files. Used to remove binary file types such as Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF documents.

Helpful links

This is a list of useful links that can be used to find information on the site.

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