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Search Guide


This site uses the Opentext Livelink search engine to search and retrieve collections of documents encoded in SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) according to the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) standard. Livelink returns results to the user’s web browser in HTML format.

After submitting a search through our HTML form you will receive a summary list of documents which will give you the option of proceeding to the full text of any of them. You may navigate between the summary list and the individual documents using the navigation tools of your browser, or by opening multiple browser windows.

Note: One limitation of our current interface is that your search terms will not be highlighted in the documents retrieved. Using the Find function of your browser may help you to skip to the location of a search term in the full text of a long document displayed in your browser window. While this strategy forces you to retype your search term and take account of accented characters (whereas you were not required to in your intitial search), it may sometimes be useful.

French version/version française

Choosing a collection to search

Choose a collection of documents to search by clicking one of the buttons at the top of the search form. Read more about the chronology and the bibliography . The specialized Person Search and Title Search are currently possible only in the Chronology. Textual searches (Simple or Advanced) may be performed on both collections.

Text Searching

After choosing a collection to search, enter a search term (word or exact phrase) into the text search box, then click the Search button. Replace accented characters with their unaccented equivalents.
Word example: cathedrale
Phrase example: la lettre de Marcel

Case is not significant: dreyfus = Dreyfus

You may truncate words using the asterisk *.
Example: mond* finds monde(s), mondain(e)(s), mondanité(s), etc.

When searching for words beginning with vowels, consider possible preceding articles or prepositions: a search for avoir will not find d’avoir , l’avoir , etc. You may search the entirety of each document (= Within Entire document) or limit your search to one of the following categories. (For more options see Advanced Searching below.)

  • Names
    Sample search: cre* Within Names
    This search will find several documents containing references to Crémieux (Adolphe or Benjamin), but will exclude other common words beginning with cré- or cre-. In most cases it will be preferable to use our Person search option, which provides more information about individuals mentioned in the documents.
  • Bibliographic citations
    Sample search: lond* Within Bibliographic citations
    This search will find documents containing Londres or London within bibliographic citations, for example as a publication place or in a title. Bibliographic citations can be found in both the Bibliography and the Chronology.
  • Authors
    Sample search: dreyfus Within Authors
    This search will find several references to Robert Dreyfus as an author, but will exclude references to Alfred Dreyfus or the Affaire Dreyfus. Authors are also marked as names (see above), and are always found inside bibliographic citations.
  • Titles
    Title of an article, eg. Une rentrée littéraire
    Title of a periodical or monograph, eg. Le Figaro, or Souvenirs sur Marcel Proust
    Sample search: dreyfus Within Titles
    In the Chronology, this search will produce references to the works Histoire de l’affaire DreyfusRépertoire de l’affaire Dreyfus, etc. Unlike authors, titles can be found both inside and outside of bibliographic citations.If you wish to search by title category or genre (prose, poetry, dance, theater, etc.) use the Title Search .
  • Verse lines
    There are a certain number of lines of verse, stanzas and complete poems cited in the documents. If you wish you may limit your search to text occurring within these.
    Sample search: reve Within Verse lines
    In the Chronology, this search returns documents with verse lines containing rêve, but not documents where rêve occurs elsewhere.
  • Notes
    These are remarks by Archive personnel which have been added to the documents created by Philip Kolb. They should appear in your browser as bold or otherwise emphasized. Initials of the author are given at the end of each note.
    Sample search: vg Within Notes
    This search finds all of the notes added by Virginie Greene. See the list below:
CS Caroline Szylowicz
VG Virginie Greene
FL Françoise Leriche
PR Patrick Reidenbaugh
SP Stéphane Pillet
SPP Sean Patrick Palmer
JB Jacqueline Burns

Date Range Searching

Important: Always use eight digits (i.e. an exact day of the year) in both date range boxes provided. The search format for each box is year-month-day (yyyy-mm-dd). (Note: Only the date in the heading of the document is currently searchable in this manner. This means that you cannot search for dates mentioned in the body or text of the document, in the bibliographic citations, etc.)
At present the Chronology includes the years 1633-1911 and the Bibliography covers 1884-1991.


Date Range: Type
March 19- April 18, 1909: 19090319 to 19090418
March 3, 1909: 19090303 to 19090303
1908 (i.e. January 1- December 31): 19080101 to 19081231
March 1909 (i.e. March 1-31): 19090301 to 19090331


You may use a date range search alone or in conjunction with a text search. In the latter case the two searches limit each other (logical AND).
Example: Search for dreyfus Within Author, Date range 19220000 to 19271231
In the Bibliography this search finds references to works of which Robert Dreyfus is the author, but only those whose dates of publication fall between the beginning of 1922 and the end of 1927. (For an explanation of the zeros in the date 192200 00, see below.)

Further (detailed) explanation

In most cases the explanation given above will suffice. However, the variety of date formats used in the documents presents particular difficulties, one of them being the representation of generalized or incomplete dates, i.e. those which do not specify a particular month or day (e.g. “1904”, “January 1904”). We have chosen to encode dates of this type as falling on the ‘zero’ month or day.


  • Document dated “1904” = 1904 0000
  • Document dated “January 1904” = 190401 00

In order to find documents with such dates you must in some cases take account of the zeros, e.g.:

  • “1904” (only documents marked as such): type 19040000 to 19040000
  • 1904 (all documents in 1904): type 19040000 to 19041231
  • “January 1904” (only documents marked as such): type 19040100 to 19040100
  • January 1904 (all documents in January 1904): type 19040100 to 19040131

NOTE: It is currently impossible to find both a specific range of dates and generalized dates not included within the range in the same search, as in: “Find January 8-17, 1904 and also other documents in January not marked as to day”. We suggest that in this case you carry out two searches, as follows:

  • “January 1904”: type 19040100 to 19040100
  • January 8-17, 1904: type 19040108 to 19040117

If your browser permits, opening a second window will allow you to view the results of both searches at the same time.

(Of course, if the ‘zero’ month or day falls within your range, those documents will be found in addition to the others in the range. January 24 – February 5 1904 also returns documents marked “February 1904” because ‘February 0’ happens to be included in the range.)

Advanced Searching

This option provides additional text search boxes, with logical operators to connect them. You may enter a search term (word or phrase) into the three boxes provided, but only one is required. Choose an operator to connect the boxes you fill in. The “by” operator differs from “near” in that it requires two terms to be adjacent. “Near” means the two search terms are within 10 words of each other.
The Advanced Search behaves otherwise just like a Simple Search.

Note: The Advanced Search is an excellent way to limit text searches. For example, you may be searching the Chronology for the word histoire in titles, but you want only titles discussed in the main text of the document, not those within bibliographic citations, which are generally found at the end of the document and give Philip Kolb’s sources for the information. In this case you could perform a search as follows:

histoire Within Titles
but not histoire Within Bibliographic citations

Person Searching

(Chronology only)

Carrying out a Person Search has two major advantages over doing textual searches (i.e. string searches) for names of people. First, you can often learn more about the person for whom you are searching and precisely identify them. Second, you can be sure to have found all of the documents in which a person is mentioned, regardless of how they are referred to textually. (This is made possible by a set of hidden codes.) This kind of search is particularly useful in identifying nicknames, maiden names and family relationships for individuals such as:

“Marquise Jacques de Belbeuf, née marquise Sophie-Mathilde-Adèle-Denise de Morny, dite Missy”

Person Searching is a three-part process:

  1. You submit a search and receive a list of one or more persons matching the search term. This list often contains a description field which provides additional information to help you identify the individual.
  2. You select a name from the list by clicking the “select” button to the right of the name. This returns a search form confirming the name you have selected, along with text and date range boxes so that you may optionally limit the search further.
  3. You submit this final form by clicking “Search”. This will return a summary list of documents containing references to the person selected, just as in a normal text search.

Title Searching

You may search for titles by category or genre. (This is made possible by a set of hidden codes.)

  1. Begin by selecting one of the categories on the search form and clicking “Search”. This will return a search form confirming the title category you have chosen, along with text and date range boxes so that you may optionally limit the search further.
  2. Submit this form by clicking “Search”. This will return a summary list of documents containing references to the title category selected, just as in a normal text search.

Note: This is not a keyword search. You will not necessarily find all documents relating to the category selected, but you will find all documents containing titles which belong to that category.