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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, try these advanced search techniques: wildcard and truncated searching.

Wildcard searching

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).

search box with the search word wom?n
Figure 1.

You can use multiple question marks (?) when multiple letters are unknown. Use one question mark for each unknown letter. For example, searching for “Ad??tant” will find results for Adjutant. However, searching “Ad?tant” (only one question mark) will not return results.

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).

search box with the search word tex*
Figure 2.

You can also combine wildcard searching with truncated searching. For example, searching “wom?n*” will find results for women, woman, womanhood, woman’s, and women’s.

Page last modified: June 17, 2020