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Blackboard Help

Search the Content Collection

How do I perform a search?

You can search the content available to you in the Content Collection.

Access files or folders not displayed in the folder tree. Read permission may have been granted to you on a file or folder that is not displayed in your folder tree or shortcut view. Use search criteria, such as the name of the file or folder or the username of a person who created the file, to find the item.

Discover information. Use search to find information about a particular topic, written by a specific user, or with particular metadata.

All searches are case-insensitive. Searches ignore capital and lowercase letters and return the same results.

Search quickly from the Search menu in the Content Collection menu. You can use a Basic Search or an Advanced Search. You can save searches and perform them over again from the Saved Searches page. Users can 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 your permission on a file or folder. If you don't have read permission on an item, you won't see it in the search results, even if it matches the search criteria. If additional permission exists on a file or folder, the permission applies to that file or folder if you open it from the search results.


‘And’ searches

You can type criteria in multiple search boxes to create an ‘AND’ search. An item must meet all the criteria to be returned in the search results. Each criterion narrows the search.

Only one box on the page must have criteria to execute a search.


Search criteria

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

  • You must type at least one term on a search page.
  • If you type multiple words in a search, the query will return only those files that include all of the specified words.
  • You can use wildcard searches when searching file contents. For example, if “search*” is typed, items with “search” and “searches” in the content are returned. You can't use partial word searches in this instance.
  • You can use partial word searches when searching file names. For example, if “searches” is typed, items with “search” in the file name are returned. You can't use wildcard searches in this instance.
  • You can type a file extension in the File or Folder Name box to return all files for one type of extension. For example, type “.xls” to return all Excel files.

Wildcard, proximity, and fuzzy searches

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

  • You can perform a wildcard search by adding an asterisk or star ( * ) in the middle or at the end of the search terms. Use to find a term where one character is debatable. For example, add “te*t” when you are looking for text or test. Or, if multiple characters are debatable. For example, add “test*” when you are looking for variants of test, such as testing, tested, and so on.
  • You can't use an asterisk or star ( * ) as the first character in a search as this returns all items in the Content Collection.
  • You can perform a fuzzy search by adding the tilde ( ~ ). For example, you can search for a term similar in spelling to “roam.” Type: roam~
  • You can search for words within a certain proximity to one another by adding the tilde ( ~ ). For example, you can search for "test" and "history" within 10 words of each other in a document. Type: "test history"~10

Boolean searches

You can use the following Boolean operators to search in the Content Collection: AND, OR, NOT, “-“, “+”. You must type Boolean operators in ALL CAPS. You can use parentheses to group clauses and form sub-queries in searches.

  • OR operator: The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching document if either of the terms exists in the document. You can use the symbol “ll” 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" ll test, "test history" OR test
  • AND operator: The AND operator matches documents where both terms exist anywhere in the text of a single document. You can use the symbol “&&” in place of the word AND. For example, to search for documents that contain "test history" and "history test," use one of the following queries: "test history" && "history test", "test history" AND "history test"
  • NOT operator: The NOT operator excludes documents that contain a specific term. You can use the symbol “!” in place of the word NOT. For example to search for documents that contain “history test” but not “calculus test”, use one of the following queries: “history test” ! “calculus test”, “history test” NOT “calculus test”
  • + operator: Thd + operator requires that the term after the + exists 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: Th - 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: You can use parentheses to group clauses to form sub-queries 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

You can use a basic search to quickly search for Content Collection items with a limited number of search criteria. The file name 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 typed or select Equals to search for all items that exactly match what you have typed.
  • Type text to search for. 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.
  • Use the asterisk (*) to return all files and folders that you have permission to read—up to a number set by your institution—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’.
  • You can perform a single character wildcard search with the * in the middle or at the end of the search terms. Used to find a term where one character is debatable, for example, “te*t”.
  • You can perform a multiple character wildcard search with the * in the middle or at the end of the search terms. Used to find a term where multiple characters are debatable, for example, “test*”.
  • You can perform a fuzzy search with the tilde “~”. For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to “roam,” type “roam~” in the search box.
  • You can search for words within a certain proximity to one another using the tilde “~”. 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.
Search From Choose a folder to search in the Content Collection. To select a location to search, select Browse. You can look through the folders in the Content Collection. When you find the one you want to search, select the radio button next to the folder name.

Most users can't search from top level directories, such as /library or /courses. Your system role needs the appropriate privilege to search top level directories.

Advanced searches

Advanced Search contains the same options as a basic search and the following:

  • You can search for more granular results with additional options and metadata.
  • You can save search criteria and rerun the search from the Saved Searches page.
  • You can use Search File Contents. Searching File Contents is the same search option provided in the Basic Search. If a file contains criteria added, the file is produced in the results.
  • You can use Search File Comments. If a file has comments on it that meet the search criteria, 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

You can use additional search options to narrow search results to more specific criteria. Each additional criteria narrows the search.

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

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 a search

The Saved Searches page stores searches so that you can use them again. You can save a search when you create a search on the Advanced Search page or the Portfolio Search page. You can also save a search from the Search Results page.

You can save a search that you want to run regularly. You can share saved searches can be shared with other users.

Share saved searches

  1. From the Search Content panel, select Saved Searches.
  2. On the Saved Searches page, select 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 the Enter key. The Search Content page appears.

Rerun a search

Select the name of a saved search to see the search results. This search runs anew each time you select it. 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.

You can bookmark the file or folder directly from the Search Results page and access it later on the Bookmarks page.


Manage your searches

You can edit a search. Access the search's contextual menu and select 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 select Submit.

You can delete a search from a search's menu.