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Blackboard Help

Search

The Search Content tool provides users with ways to access, group, and save the vast amount of content available to them in the Content Collection. It provides an alternative way to access information that is presented in the user’s folder tree or shortcut view, as well as information that is shared to a user but not accessible from the Content Collection menu.

Search is a powerful tool to use in two circumstances:

  • Accessing files or folders not displayed in the folder tree. If read permission has been granted to a user on a file or folder that is not displayed in a user’s folder tree or shortcut view, search criteria, such as the name of the file or folder or the username of a person who created the file, may be used to find the item.
  • Discovery of information. Use search to find information stored in the Content Collection related to a particular topic, written by a specific user, or including particular metadata.

Search quickly from the Search panel on the Content Collection menu. It is most useful when at least part of the item name is known. Users also have the option of conducting either a Basic Search or an Advanced Search. Searches can be saved and used over and over again from the Saved Searches page. Users may also search portfolios and portfolio items.

Content Collection items attached to portfolios are searched during a basic or advanced search. Whole portfolios and portfolio items (such as welcome pages and item pages) cannot be located using basic and advanced search. Use the portfolio search to locate these items.

‘Smart’ Searches

All searches are based on the permission a user has on a file or folder. If read permission does not exist on an item, it will not be displayed in the search results, even if it matches the search criteria. If additional permission exists on a file or folder, the permission will apply to that file or folder if it is opened from the search results.

‘And’ Searches

Entering criteria in multiple search fields on the Search page creates what is known as an ‘AND’ search. An item must meet all the criteria entered on the page to be returned in the search results. Each criteria entered narrows the search.

Only one field on the page must have criteria entered in it to execute a search. It is not possible to return all files and folders by entering no criteria.

Case Insensitivity

All searches are case-insensitive. Regardless of whether lower-case or capital letters are typed, the search will ignore this and return the same results.

Search Criteria

The following information is helpful when conducting searches in the Content Collection:

  • Users must enter at least one term on a search page; they cannot return all files on the system by entering nothing.
  • If multiple words are entered in a search, the query will return only those files that include all of the specified words.
  • Wildcard searches may be used when searching file contents. For example, if “search*” is entered, items with “search” and “searches” in the content will be returned. Partial word searches may not be used in this instance.
  • Partial word searches may be used when searching file names. For example, if “searches” is entered, items with “search” in the file name will be returned. Wildcard searches may not be used in this instance.
  • Users may enter a file extension in the File or Folder Name box to return all files for one type of extension. For example, “.xls” may be entered to return all Excel files.
  • Use the buttons on the Search page and Search Results page, such as Submit and Back, rather than using the options in the browser action bar or ENTER on the keyboard. Using options other than those provided on the pages of the Content Collection may result in error messages.

Wildcard, Proximity and Fuzzy searches

The following information is helpful when conducting wildcard, proximity and fuzzy searches in the Content Collection. These types of searches may only be used when searching file contents, not file names.

  • A single character wild card search may be performed by using the “*” symbol in the middle or at the end of the search terms. This is used to find a term where one character is debatable, for example, “te*t”.
  • A multiple character wild card search may be performed by using the “*” symbol in the middle or at the end of the search terms. This is used to find a term where multiple characters are debatable, for example, “test*”.
  • A “*” symbol cannot be used as the first character in a search; this will return all items in the Content Collection.
  • Fuzzy searches may be done using the tilde, “~”, symbol. For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to “roam”, enter “roam~” in the search field.
  • Users may search for words within a certain proximity to one another using the tilde, “~”, symbol. For example to search for "test" and "history" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search: "test history"~10.

Boolean Searches

The following Boolean operators may be used to search in the Content Collection: AND, OR, NOT, “-“, “+”. Boolean operators must be entered in ALL CAPS. Parentheses may be used to group clauses and form sub queries in searches.

  • OR operator: This operator links two terms and finds a matching document if either of the terms exists in the document. The symbol “ll” may be used in place of the word OR. For example, to search for documents that contain either "test history" or just "test" use one of the following queries: "test history" test , "test history" OR test
  • AND operator: The AND operator matches documents where both terms exist anywhere in the text of a single document. The symbol “&&” can be used in place of the word AND. For example, to search for documents that contain "test history" and "history test" use the query: "test history" AND "history test"
  • NOT operator: The NOT operator excludes documents that contain a specific term. The symbol “!” can be used in place of the word NOT. For example to search for documents that contain “history test” but not “calculus test” use the following query: “history test” NOT “calculus test”
  • + operator: This operator requires that the term after the “+” symbol exist somewhere in the text of a single document. For example, to search for a document that contains “test” and may contain “history” use the following query: +test history
  • - operator: This operator will exclude documents that contain a specific term. For example, to search for documents that contain “history test” but not “history assignment” use the following query: history test – assignment
  • Grouping: Parentheses may be used to group clauses to form subqueries within a Search. For example, to search for either “history” or “revolution” and “test” use the following query: (history OR revolution) AND test

Basic Searches

Basic Search allows users to quickly search for Content Collection items using a limited number of search criteria. The filename and all metadata associated with the file are automatically included in the search.

Basic search includes two options:

Basic Search Options
Option Description
Search Criteria
Metadata, File Name, or Folder Name
  • From the drop-down menu, select Contains to search for all items that contain the criteria entered or select Equals to search for all items that exactly match what you have entered.
  • Enter text to search for in the Content Collection. This field searches the names of metadata, files, and folders loaded in the Content Collection.
  • The file types searched are: DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF (excluding encrypted pdf files), HTML, HTM, RTF, TXT.
  • The asterisk (*) symbol may be used to return all files and folders that a user has permission to read (up to a number set by your school's administrator). This is known as a wildcard search.
  • Partial word searches are allowed (typing part of a word as opposed to the whole word, for example, ‘enviro’ instead of ‘environment’).
  • A single character wild card search may be performed by using the “*” symbol in the middle or at the end of the search terms. This is used to find a term where one character is debatable, for example, “te*t”.
  • A multiple character wild card search may be performed by using the “*” symbol in the middle or at the end of the search terms. This is used to find a term where multiple characters are debatable, for example, “test*”.
  • Fuzzy searches may be done using the tilde, “~”, symbol. For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to “roam”, enter “roam~” in the search field.
  • Users may search for words within a certain proximity to one another using the tilde, “~”, symbol. For example to search for "test" and "history" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search: "test history"~10.
Search File Contents Select this check box to search through the contents of the files themselves.

Advanced Searches

Advanced Search contains the same options as a basic search, plus:

  • Search File Comments
  • Additional Search Options and Metadata searches for more granular results
  • Save Search function that allows a user to save search criteria and re-run the search with one click from the Saved Searches page
  • Search File Contents: Searching File Contents is the same search option provided in the Basic Search. If a file contains criteria entered in the search field, the file is produced in the results.
  • Search File Comments: If a file has comments on it that meet the search criteria entered in the search field, the file is produced in the results. To see comments on a file, comments must be Shared (not Private), or Manage permission must exist for the user on the file.

Additional Search Options

Additional search options allow for narrowing search results to more specific criteria. Like all other searches, each additional criteria narrows the search.

Institutions can use metadata in a coordinated way to make finding content easier. For example, if librarians consistently use metadata to enter subject or username information, then students can search for topical information, all documents by a certain author, or any other criteria that is entered.

Alignments

Search for content by goals alignments. Select Any or All selected goals or Browse Goals.

Metadata

Type any known metadata in the fields provided.

Save this Search

Save search criteria by typing a Search Name in the Save Search as box, then click Submit. The search is automatically saved and accessible from the Saved Searches page.

Saved Searches

The Saved Searches page stores searches so they can be used again. Searches may be saved when creating the search on the Advanced Search page or the Portfolio Search page, or they may be saved from the Search Results page.

Saved searches can be shared with other content management users. The Saved Search page lists all searches initiated on any search page for which a search name was entered in the Save this Search as box and the search was submitted. The filename and all metadata associated with the file are automatically included in the search.

It is beneficial to save a search that will be run regularly.

How to Re-run a Search

Click the name of a saved search to see the search results. This search runs anew every time the name is selected. The search results will change if a new file or folder has been added that meets the criteria, if a file or folder has been removed, or if permission to the file has been changed.

If it is important to have continued access to a particular file or folder that appears in the search results, then bookmark the file or folder directly from the Search Results page. It can then be accessed from Bookmarks.

How to Edit the Search

Access the search's contextual menu and click Edit to change the search criteria. The page where the search was initiated opens and is populated with the existing search criteria. If the saved search was a basic search, the criteria will display on the Advanced Search page and can be edited from there. Edit any criteria and click Submit.

How to Share Saved Searches

Searches that have been saved can be shared with other content management users. Follow these steps to share saved searches:

  1. From the Search Content panel, click Saved Searches.
  2. On the Saved Searches page, click the entry in the Search URL column of the appropriate search.
  3. Copy that entry.
  4. Open a new browser window.
  5. Paste the copied entry into the address field and press ENTER. The Search Content page appears.

How to Delete the Search

Access a saved search's contextual menu and select Delete.