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Search for specific termsBrowse alphabetical list of authorsBrowse alphabetical list of titlesBrowse by genreBrowse by dateBrowse by papyrus ID


How to find information in the POxy collection

There are 6 ways to find information in this collection:

  • search for publication numbers
  • search/sort by author
  • search/sort by title
  • search/sort by genre
  • sort papyri by date
  • access P.Oxy. volumes

You can search for particular words that appear in the text from the "search" page. This is the first page that comes up when you begin, and can be reached from other pages by pressing the search button.

You can sort papyri by author by pressing the authors a-z button. This brings up a list of papyri, sorted by author name.

You can sort papyri by title by pressing the titles a-z button. This brings up a list of titles in alphabetical order.

You can access publications by genre by pressing the genres button. This brings up a list of documents, sorted by genre.

You can sort papyri by date by pressing the dates button. This brings up a list of papyri, sorted chronologically.

You can access publications by papyrus identification number by pressing the papyrus IDs button. This brings up a list of documents, sorted by papyrus ID number.

How to read the documents

Running a search or pressing a button on the menu bar will produce a list of icons. A bookshelf icon represents a set of items. The set may consist of another set, in which case a list of bookshelf icons will appear when the parent bookshelf is clicked. If the set consists of documents then clicking on the parent bookshelf will produce a list of text icons. Clicking on a text icon opens the corresponding document.

Open this bookshelf
View this section of the text

How to search for particular words

From the search page, you make a query in these simple steps:

  1. Specify what items you want to search
  2. Say whether you want to search for all or just some of the words
  3. Type in the words you want to search for
  4. Click the Begin Search button

When you make a query, the titles of twenty matching documents will be shown. There is a button at the end to take you on to the next twenty documents. From there you will find buttons to take you on to the third twenty or back to the first twenty, and so on. Click the title of any document, or the little button beside it, to see it.

By default, a maximum of 100 is imposed on the number of documents returned. You can change this number by clicking the preferences button at the top of the page.

Search terms

Whatever you type into the query box is interpreted as a list of words called "search terms." Each term contains nothing but alphabetic characters and digits. Terms are separated by white space. If any other characters such as punctuation appear then they are ignored; they serve to separate terms just as though they were spaces.

For example, the query


will be treated the same as

    Grenfell Hunt

Query type

There are two different kinds of query.

  • Queries for all of the words: These look for documents (or chapters, or titles) that contain all the words you have specified. Documents that satisfy the query are displayed, in alphabetical order.

  • Queries for some of the words: Just list some terms that are likely to appear in the documents you are looking for. Documents are displayed in order of how closely they match the query. When determining the degree of match,

    • the more search terms a document contains, the closer it matches;
    • rare terms are more important than common ones;
    • short documents match better than long ones.

Use as many search terms as you like--a whole sentence, or even a whole paragraph. If you specify only one term, documents will be ordered by the term's frequency of occurrence.

Scope of queries

In most collections you can choose different indexes to search. For example, there might be author or title indexes. Or there might be chapter or paragraph indexes. Generally, the full matching document is returned regardless of which index you search.

If documents are books, they will be opened at the appropriate place.

Changing your preferences

When you click the preferences button at the top of the page you will be able to change some features of the interface to suit your own requirements.

Collection preferences

Some collections comprise several subcollections, which can be searched independently or together, as one unit. If so, you can select which subcollections to include in your searches on the Preferences page.

Language preferences

Each collection has a default presentation language, but you can switch to a different language if you like. You can also alter the encoding scheme used by Greenstone for output to the browser -- the software chooses sensible defaults, but with some browsers better visual results can be used by switching to a different encoding scheme. All collections allow you to switch from the standard graphical interface format to a textual one. This is particularly useful for visually impaired users who use large screen fonts or speech synthesizers for output.

Presentation preferences

Depending on the particular collection, there may be several options you can set that control the presentation.

Collections of Web pages allow you to suppress the Greenstone navigation bar at the top of each document page, so that once you have done a search you land at the exact Web page that matches without any Greenstone header. To do another search you will have to use your browser's "back" button. These collections also allow you to suppress Greenstone's warning message when you click a link that takes you out of the digital library collection and on to the Web itself. And in some Web collections you can control whether the links on the "Search Results" page take you straight to the actual URL in question, rather than to the digital library's copy of the page.

Search preferences

Two pairs of buttons control the kind of text matching in the searches that you make. The first set (labeled "case differences") controls whether upper and lower case must match. The second ("word endings") controls whether to ignore word endings such as "ing" or "s". It is possible to get a large query box so that you can easily do paragraph-sized searching; the system can search for large amounts of text surprisingly quickly.

You can switch to an "advanced" query mode which allows you to combine terms using AND (&), OR (|), and NOT (!). This allows you to specify more precise queries. You can activate the search history feature, which shows you your last few queries. This makes it easy to repeat slightly modified versions of previous queries. Finally, you can control the number of hits returned, and the number presented in each screen.