Seattle City Clerk's Office Information Services Tips on Searching
Enter words which express the subject of your query. Your search terms will be matched with words in the parts of documents in the database corresponding to the label on the form box.
Forming a Search Query
Connect two or more words with and to retrieve documents which contain all of your search terms. Connect terms with or to retrieve items which contain any of a list of alternative terms. Connect terms with adj to retrieve items which connect terms adjacent and in that order.
Examples: rat or mouse : Retrieves items containing either word rat and mouse : Retrieves items containing both words wood adj rat : Retrieves items containing both words in that order and adjacent
Other search operators: Use near to connect words occurring in the same sentence and in any order. You can modify this operator for more precise results: the operator near3 will retrieve documents containing the two connected terms within three words of one another. Use with to connect words appearing in the same sentence. Use same to retrieve documents that contain the second search term in the same paragraph as the first term.
You may enter search terms in more than one form box for a query. The terms are logically connected by the "default operator" setting at the bottom of the search screen.
Searching for Phrases
Enclose words in quotes if you want to search on words occurring as a phrase.
Example: "land use" : Retrieves docs containing that phrase
Certain common words (stopwords) are not included in the database system's internal indexes. If you include them in a search query you will get misleading results.
Example: "Chamber of Commerce" will retrieve no documents because "of" is a stopword. Instead, use the query "chamber commerce".
? : matches any single character
$ : matches any ending to the word root
Examples: theat?? : matches theater or theatre theat$ : matches theater, theatre, theatrical, etc.
The most recent legislation (ordinances 1992-present, resolutions 1991-present) is indexed with terms from the City Clerk's thesaurus. Using index terms in a search query may increase the precision of your search, especially when words expressing subjects are not present in document titles.
Restricting a Search to a Database Field
Sometimes is is helpful to restrict a search to a certain part of a database record, or "field." The labeled boxes in the search forms allow some field-specific searching, but more flexibility is possible. For instance, it is possible to retrieve all City Council Resolutions sponsored by Councilmember Jim Street by entering the following in the "Words anywhere" box of the Resolution database search form:
The search term is followed by a dot, the field code, and another dot. To use this technique you need to know the field names for the database you are searching.
Field names for:
- Council Bill and Ordinance database
- Resolution database
- Comptroller/Clerk File database
- City Council Minutes database
- WTOD ARC document database
- Seattle Municipal Code
- Seattle City Charter
- Seattle Business Tax Rules
- Seattle Taxicab and For-Hire Vehicle Rules
- Seattle Elections Code Administrative Rules
- Seattle Hearing Examiner Decisions
- Municipal Archives Guide
- Municipal Archives Subject Files Index
- Municipal Archives General Files Index
- Municipal Archives Photograph Index
- Municipal Archives City Documents Catalog
Last revised 10/08/01