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Alternate spellings and wildcard searching in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA)

If you are having trouble finding materials in the TDA using basic keyword searches, it may be helpful to use more advanced search techniques to broaden your search. Two advanced search techniques, wildcard and truncated searching, are described and demonstrated below.

Wildcard searching

A wildcard search is used to search for multiple spellings of a term or terms.

If the keyword(s) you are searching for may have alternate spellings or if you are unsure of the correct spelling, use a question mark (?) at the exact spot where you are unclear of the spelling. The search results will include all results with all letters available for that single spot. For example, using “wom?n” would return results for both women and woman (see Figure 1, below).


Figure 1.

Truncated searching

If you want results for different variations of a term, use an asterisk (*) at the end of the term where spelling starts to vary. This type of search is called a truncation search. The results will include all results with the exact spelling up to the asterisk (*), and results with any additional letters after the exact spelling. For example, searching for “Tex*” will return results for Texas, Texan, Texian, and other words that begin with “Tex” (see Figure 2, below).


Figure 2.

Page last modified: September 10, 2018