Search Options

This page will give you an overview on the different options you have with searching in BibSonomy. You can find more details at Apache Lucene - Query ParserSyntax.
To search, enter your search term into the search bar on the upper right side.


Overview table

Term Meaning Example
term find one word hello
"..." find phrases "hello dolly"
? any single character (the question mark cannot be at the beginning of a search term) te?t
* any multiple characters (the star cannot be at the beginning of a search term) test*
OR finds a matching document if either one of the terms exist "hello dolly" hello "hello dolly" OR hello
AND finds a matching document if all of the terms exist "hello dolly" AND "dolly lucy"
+ the term after the '+' symbol has to exist +hello dolly
-/NOT/! the term after the '-' symbol mustn't exist Alternatives: NOT or ! "hello dolly" -"dolly lucy" / "hello dolly" NOT "dolly lucy"
(...) Grouping of clauses (hello OR dolly) AND website
\~ fuzzy search terms. Finds words that are spelled similarly. roam~
\~n Proximity Search. Finding words that are within a specific distance away. "hello dolly"~10
\^n Boosting factor to control the relevance of a document by boosting its term. "hello dolly"^4 "dolly lucy"
\ Escaping of special characters: + - && || ! ( ) { } [ ] \^ " * ? : \ \(1\+1\)\:2 for (1+1):2


Search with one word

To search with a single word, just enter the word into the search bar. It doesn't matter if you use upper case or lower case letters.

Example: java finds all entries with the topic "java".

Search with phrases

To search with more than one word (phrases), put quotes in front of and after the phrase.

Example: "programming language" finds all entries with the phrase "programming language".

Wildcards (? and *)

When you aren't sure how a word is spelled or you want to search for more versions of a word, you can use wildcards. The wildcase must never stand in the beginning of a search term.

?: A question mark stands for any single character.
Example: With the search term te?t, you can find all entries with the terms "test" as well as "text".

*: A star stands for any multiple characters.
Example: With the search term test*, you can find all entries with the terms "test", "tests", "tester" and "testing".

Combination: It is possible to use mutliple words aswell. Example: By searching te?t foo?, you can find all entries with any combination of the expression. For example, "text food" and "text foot" will be found, but also "test food" and "test foot".

Regular Expressions

In BibSonomy, you can also search with regular expressions. The search term has to stand between two slashes.

Example: With /[bl]ook/, you can search for "book" and "look".

AND, OR, NOT, + and -

The operators AND, OR and NOT belong to the Boolean operators. They allow terms to be combined through logic operators.

AND: When two search terms are combined by AND, only entries will be found that contain both search terms.
Example: honey AND bee shows entries that contain "honey" as well as "bee".

OR: When two search terms are combined by OR, only entries will be found that contain one of the two search terms.
Example: "computer science" OR computer finds entries with the terms "computer science" or "computer".

NOT: With the operator NOT, you can exclude terms that shouldn't be contained in the found entries.
Example: "computer science" NOT computer only finds entries with the term "computer science" and excludes entries with the term "computer".

'+' and '-': A '+' in front of a search term means that this term has to exist, while a '-' means that this word mustn't exist. When an entry includes words that are marked with '-' as well as words marked with '+', this entry won't be shown in the list of results.
Example: +java -script finds entries where the term "java" has to exist, but the term "script" mustn't exist.

Combination: These operators can be combined with Wildcards and Regular Expressions. Example: Search for global AND foo? to find entries with both words "global" and "food"/"foot"/...


With paranthesis, you can group your search terms and arrange them. This way, it is always clear which operator will be executed first.

Example: The term (user OR person) AND test searches for entries where either the words "user test" or the words "person test" exist.

The term user:hotho (tags:web OR tags:data) searches for entries of the user "hotho" that are tagged with "web" or "data".

Fuzzy Search

Fuzzy searches mean that you can search for words where one or more letters are changed from the original search term. That means, you can search for words that are written similarly.
A number after the '~' symbol shows how many letters may be changed (numbers between 0 and 2 are allowed). If no number is given after the '~' symbol, the default allowed changes will be 2.

Example: The search term site~ will also find entries with the words "side" or "kate". The search term site~1 won't be able to find entries with the word "kate" anymore.

Proximity search

BibSonomy supports finding words that are within a specific distance away from each other. To do so, put a '~' symbol and a number after a search phrase to determine the maximum distance.

Example: The search phrase "java training"~10 only finds entries where the distance between the words "java" and "training" is no more than ten words long.

Boosting factor

When one term is more relevant for the search than another, you can boost it. To do so, put a '^' symbol and a positive number after the term that shall be boosted. The higher the number, the more the term will be boosted.
Example: In the term java^4 script, the word "java" is more relevant than the word "script".


Escaping means to suppress the function of a special character und to print it as a normal character. To escapte special characters ( + - && || ! ( ) { } [ ] \^ " * ? : \ ), put a '\' in front of the character.

Example: The term \(1\+1\)\:2 stands for the search query "(1+1):2".

Field search

To make your searching more precise, you can search in specific categories (tag, user, group, author, concept, BibTeX key). To do so, click on the blue arrow next to the field search and choose the corresponding category by clicking (recommended), or enter the category directly into the search bar.

Category Description Example
tags:*term* only searches in the list of tags tags:java
user:*term* only searches in the list of users user:hotho
group:*term* only searches in the list of groups group:kde
author:*term* only searches in the list of authors author:gabbard

You can also combine the different categories in a search.

Example: If you search for the term user:hotho, you will find entries of the user "hotho".

Combination: You can combine categories with eachother. Example: If you enter the term user:hotho (tags:web OR tags:data) into the full text search, the shown results will be entries of the user "hotho" that are tagged with "web" or "data".


Range search

You have the possibility to search for entries in a specific range. To do so, you first have to choose the category where the search shall be conducted (e.g. title, author,...). Then, determine the range. Using square brackets, the borders of the range will be included into the search. Using curved brackets, they will be excluded.

Example: The search term title: [java TO perl] finds all entries whose title alphabetically is between "java" and "perl" ("java" and "perl" are included).

The search term author: {gabbard TO grasset} finds all entries whose author alphabetically is between "gabbard" and "grasset" ("gabbard" and "grasset" are excluded).

Advanced search

In addition to the specific categories (tag, user, group, author, concept BibTeX key) you can find in the field search (by clicking the blue arrow next to the search bar) you have the possibility to make an even more specific search by searching in the following categories. Just enter one of the categories, followed by a colon and the term you want to search for, into the search bar.

Example: journal: European Economic Review

Combination: By using specific categories and other methods of searching, you can improve the results. Example: Searching journal: Historische Zeitschrift (rezension OR imperial) will show entries by the journal "Historische Zeitschrift", which contain either "rezension" or "imperial".

Category Description
doi: DOI of a publication
isbn: ISBN of a publication
issn: ISSN of a publication
journal: full (unabbreviated) journal title
volume: volume of a journal or book of a multi-volume series
year: year of the publication, typically consisting of four numbers
publisher: name of the publisher
adress: address of publisher or institution
edition: edition of a book, usually written in full (as "second")
institution: name of the sponsoring institution for a technical report
organization: name of the sponsoring organization for a conference or manual
series: name of a series or a set of books
school: name of academic institution where a thesis was written
language: language of an entry
misc: information of imported non-standard fields for additional information that doesn't fit the categories of the predefined ones

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