Search Help

Search Tips

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Explanation of Search Terms


What it does

Best for…




Searches all fields, including additional descriptors.

New topics that may not have a subject heading yet. Broad searches.

Enter as many terms as you want in this field. If you add multiple terms, database retrieves citations with terms appearing in any field.

bolivia politics

jorge luis borges

vodou new york


Searches the author field.

Finding articles written by a specific person or corporate body.

Input the name in any order. Commas are optional.

vela velarde, carlos

Suzy Castor

rubio mercedes

Article Title

Searches the title field and additional descriptors.

Locating specific articles from a known title.

Omit initial articles, if desired.

ceramica Cerro Los Hornos

Mexican Medical Border Towns


Searches the subject field and the additional descriptors.

More targeted searches.

Check your term against the Thesaurus to see if it is an authorized term.

Bolivia Politics and government

Borges, Jorge Luis Criticism and interpretation


Journal Title

Searches the journal title field.

Looking for articles in a specific journal.

Check the Journals Indexed page to see the period of coverage for indexing.


Brazilian Economic Studies

journal of latin american lore

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Explanation of Search Limits


What it does

Best for…


Publication Date

Searches for articles published between, before, or after certain dates.

Targeted searches. If you only want recently published articles, or if you want to get a sense of what types of articles were published during a certain period.

From: 1999 To: 2000 (retrieves citations for articles published between 1999 and 2000, inclusive)

From: 1997 To: 1997 (retrieves citations for articles published in 1997)

From: 2004 (retrieves citations for articles published in 2004 and later)

To: 1985 (retrieves citations for articles published in 1985 and earlier)

Limit by Language

Retrieves citations for articles in selected languages only.

People who may not read other languages.

Limit to citations about US Hispanics/Latinos

Retrieves articles that contain information about this population group.

Locating articles about US Hispanics/Latinos or literary works written by US Hispanic/Latino authors.


Exclude Book Reviews

Removes citations referring to book reviews.

Useful when your results contain a large number of book reviews which do not interest you.

In 2001, HAPI stopped indexing book reviews.

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Boolean Searching, or What are all those "ORs," "ANDs," and "NOTs?"

Boolean searching allows you to create complex searches by joining concepts using the Boolean operators (OR, AND, NOT). It is a powerful tool to create targeted queries. It is particularly useful when you want to expand or limit your search.

To expand a search use "OR." A keyword search "vicuna OR alpaca," retrieves articles in which either animal is mentioned. This will increase the number of citations you receive, as compared to just searching for "vicuna." (An even better search would be "vicuna OR alpaca OR llama.")

Using the Boolean operator "AND" is a good way to limit search results. For example, a keyword search "caribbean AND hurricanes," will retrieve citations that mention both Caribbean and hurricanes, increasing your chances of finding citations for articles specifically about Caribbean hurricanes among your search results.

The Boolean operator "NOT" is used less frequently than "OR" and "AND." "NOT" is often used to limit search results. If you are interested in Colombia, but find that your results are dominated by citations for Bogotá, you could refine your search to read: " colombia NOT bogota." This would retrieve citations in which Bogotá is not mentioned, but Colombia is. "NOT" is a very powerful search tool and can often discount results that may be interesting to a researcher. It is recommended that you use it only when your previous query retrieves too many citations that are too broad to be of use.

More advanced queries often use a number of Boolean operators. A helpful phrase to remember is: "OR means more, AND means less, NOT is a snob."

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Creating a More Advanced Search

There are a number of strategies to creating a better search query.

  • Take advantage of the possibilities of Boolean searching. String together terms to form the most targeted search. For example, to find citations about labor or employment in California but not Baja California, try "labor OR employment AND california NOT baja." To learn more about Boolean searching, see above.
  • For all but the most specific topics, it will be necessary to use more than one search term.
  • Use subject searching – check your search terms against the Thesaurus to make sure that the term is an authorized form.
  • The search limits (by language, by date, to exclude book reviews, etc.) can also help you get more control over your query. It is usually better to use the Boolean operators to delimit a search, rather than the search limits.

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Adding Items to the Marked List

The Marked List functions as a personal bibliography. It permits you to compile a list of citations that you are interested in following up on later. Once an item is added to the Marked List, there are a number of possible delivery options.

  • print the list through your browser
  • email the list
  • export the list to a citation manager like RefWorks and EndNote

To add a citation to the Marked List simply check the box marked "Add to Marked List." This box can be found associated with each citation both in its regular display, as well as through the detailed citation view.

To review which citations are currently listed under your Marked List, follow the link Marked List on the top right hand corner from most pages.

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A Note about Full Text

HAPI recognizes that access to the full text of articles is of the utmost importance to our users. We are partnering with a number of other organizations to include more than 100,000 links to the full text of articles.

There are number of ways to tell if HAPI provides a link to the full text of an article:

  • Look for the green full text icon on the right hand side of the search results page
  • Look for the green full text icon at the bottom of the full citation

To access the full text of an article simply click on the green full text icons. This will open a new window to a new website. In some cases (such as with JSTOR), the link will be direct to the article itself. In other cases it will be necessary to use the citation information you found in the HAPI to locate the article on that particular site.

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