The Basics of Using the BSI Journal Search Engine

To search for articles in the BSI Journal database, just type in a few descriptive words and hit the [Enter] key (or click on the Journal Search button) for a list of relevant Journal articles. Since the default behavior for the search engine is to only return articles that contain all the words in your query, refining or narrowing your search is as simple as adding additional words to the search terms you have already entered.

Choosing Keywords to Optimize Your Search

For best results, it's important to choose your keywords wisely. Keep these tips in mind:

Automatic "AND" Queries

By default, the BSI Journal Search only returns article that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include "and" between terms. To restrict a search further, simply include additional terms. For example, to search for information on European hybrids, simply type:

Automatic Exclusion of Common Words

The BSI Journal Search Engine ignores common words such as "a" and "the" as well as punctuation, because they tend to return too many articles without improving the results. The search engine will indicate if one or more common words have been excluded along with the search results. If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can force the word to be used by preceding it with a "+" (plus sign). Make sure there is no space between the "+" and the keyword. For example, to search for "bromeliad society" which includes the common word (in this context) "bromeliad", use the following form:


BSI Journal searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for "spanish moss", "Spanish Moss", and "sPaNiSh mOsS" will all return the same results.

Optional Words and Boolean Terms

The basic behavior of searching for articles containing all the keywords entered can be modified with Boolean (logic) operators as follows:

+ Prepend the keyword with the plus sign to make sure a common word is not excluded.
- Use a minus sign in front of the keyword to exclude articles containing this keyword.
? Preceeding a keyword with a question mark will make the keyord optional.

For example, to find articles on potting medium using sphagnum or peat moss, you could try:

This query tries to specify a search for "moss" while trying to exclude references to "Spanish Moss". The search term "medium" might help boost appropriate articles to the top of the list but it is included as an optional term. This allows articles that do not contain "medium" to be included in the search results as well.

Proper use of specific search terms and the Boolean operators can significantly increase the recall as well as the precision of your query. Consider the following examples:

Word Variations (Wildcards & Stemming)

To provide the broadest range of results that most accurately reflect the intent of the keywords, the Journal Search Engine uses "stemming", a set of heuristics for removing suffixes from English words, leaving behind a common root. This functionality allows searches for "cultivation" to match articles containing the words "culivate", "cultivates", and "cultivating" as well.

The Journal Search Engine does not currently support "wildcard" searches. In other words, searches will not make use of wildcard characters (such as * or ?). Searching for "*regelia" will not yield results containing "Neoregelia" or "Aregelia". But, since punctuation is ignored, articles containing "Regelia" will be displayed. If in doubt, try both forms of the word you are looking for: "?Neoregelia ?Aregelia" for instance.

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