Basic Search Tips and Start Page Help

These search tips may help you if you are not getting any results, or if you are getting too many results and wish to be more specific. Below is an example of a search for the phrase "child abuse". This page will outline how this phrase is searched using the various search options available.

Search for [ child abuse ]

In Words Anywhere:

This will return any records with the words child AND abuse in any of the indexed fields in the database. The words do not necessarily have to be in the same indexed field. The word child could be in one field and the word abuse in a different field. However, both words must be present somewhere in the indexed fields for that record for it to be included in the results list.

Note that a "words anywhere" search will usually result in the largest number of "hits" and thus the largest result set for your search. If your returned list is too long, try narrowing your search by being more specific with your chosen search term or phrase, or if you can limit your search using other options on the page (i.e. located in community) that will also reduce the number of results.

In Organization:

If you are confident that you know the name, or most of the name, of a specific organization you are searching for, this is one of the most accurate ways of returning the record for that organization. If, after entering the organization name, you find no results, try being a bit more general in your search. Using the "child abuse" example, searching for "child abuse" in organization name will return only those records where child AND abuse is contained within the name of the organization itself, for example: LINDSAY AND DISTRICT COUNCIL ON CHILD ABUSE, HALTON REGIONAL POLICE SERVICE, Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit, NIAGARA INTERPROFESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE.

In Subjects:

This type of search will return any records with the words child AND abuse in the any one of the indexed Subject fields in the database. All the terms entered must be in the one of these field for the record to be returned. Subject searching is useful when you are interested in returning a list of possible organizations/groups that fit a general subject heading. For example, entering "child abuse" and searching in subjects, will return a list of organizations that provide a service related to the subject of child abuse as well as providing you with some other ideas around types of related subjects to search for.

Use of Wildcard Asterisks

You can use an asterisk at the end of any search word ... thus:

Use of quotation marks

You can search with terms enclosed in quotation marks ... thus:

The "Limit to" Searches

"Located In"and "Serving" Communities

This function enables you to restrict the results by geography; either by where the service/program is physically located or by the geographic service area specified in the record. It is a good idea, if you are searching for a specific service in a known area, to use these limiting features to narrow your results.

Organizations with WWW Sites

Search results can be limited to only those records that have a website address recorded in the WWW field

Organizations with Volunteer Opportunities

This option will only be available in those communities that are using both the Volunteer and the Community Information databases and limits the results to records with Volunteer opportunities attached.

Quick List Drop Down

This search tool allows you to limit the range of the records that are searched to a pre-defined set of records, often grouped by subject and/or geographical location. You can only select one choice from the drop down list.

Record Number

You can return one specific record in the search results according to its Record Number, that is, the three alpha, four numeric unique identifier assigned to each record. Eg. HAM2233; OAK4489; SIM3212 & so on. If you are searching by record number, all other search criteria should be clear because this search, by definition, can have only one record in the result so no other criteria is applicable. This is only useful if you know the record number for the organization you are searching for.

If you find you frequently make reference to a single record, you may want to make note of the record number in the database entry, as this is the quickest way to locate a specific record.


Remember that, in all cases, the search components are added together. In other words, the listing of records you obtain from your search (if any) is the result of:


Browsing is NOT the same as Searching

Browsing is looking through a pre-defined list and is based on specifying either a letter or a number as your criteria.

Browse by Organization:

Allows you to review a list of services based on an alphabetical listing of the top level organization name defined in the record.

Browse by Subject:

Allows you to review a list of subject terms based on alphabetical clustering. It also provides the use instead terms and use with terms. At the end of each linked subject term the number of records that contain that term is identified in brackets. Clicking on the listed subject produces a list of those records that contain that subject in the same way that a regular subject search for that term would produce a results list. The Use terms are also "clickable".