OSTI.GOV offers two types of search: semantic search and term search. The default search for words or phrases entered into the basic search box from the homepage or at the top of every screen is “semantic” searching. A semantic search technique called keyword-to-concept mapping is utilized, so your search term will be mapped to related scientific concepts allowing you to retrieve results related to your search term, but also to explore narrower and similar concepts. Boolean operators are ignored in the basic search so your term can be easily mapped to other concepts.
The semantic search option applies only to the terms entered in the basic search keywords field. Other fields in advanced search, including the general “all fields,” apply their supplied query terms directly as a term search, and allow Boolean operators to be used.
In advanced search (accessible via the green drop down arrow in the search bar), the term search works much like a basic Google search, where you can enter your terms into the search fields to retrieve results. You can search for a single term or a phrase by putting it in "double quotes." Additionally, OSTI.GOV advanced search supports Boolean and proximity operators, wildcards, and parentheses for grouping:
OSTI.GOV recognizes the operators AND, OR, and NOT.
Example: A search for water AND "climate change" will return results that include both the term water and the phrase climate change.
Example: A search for water OR "climate change" will return results that include either the term water or the phrase climate change.
Example: A search for water NOT "climate change" will return results that include the term water but not the phrase climate change.
+ and - allow for a search to either be required or forbidden in the search results.
Example: A search for energy +water will return results that include the term energy and also include the term water.
Example: A search for energy -water will return results that include the term energy but not the term water.
Example: "nuclear energy"~3 will return results where nuclear and energy are within three words of each other in the bibliographic record.
Parentheses for Grouping
Example: A search for water AND ("climate change" OR energy) will return results that include both the term water and either the phrase climate change or the term energy.
Combined Basic and Advanced Search
OSTI.GOV offers the option to combine the basic semantic and advanced term searching for the best of both worlds. To take advantage of this, enter your semantic search terms in the basic search box. The term(s) you search will be mapped to related scientific concepts based on a thesaurus developed by OSTI, allowing you to retrieve results related to your search term, but also to explore narrower and similar concepts. In the advanced search fields, you may then enter more specific words, phrases, or select from our drop-downs to narrow within the semantic search results.