Search Handbook

Searching Public Data

Users can enter a combination of search terms to advance their searchers in all four BOLD public databases. For example, searching "Lepidoptera Canada" in the Public Data Portal will return all of the Lepidoptera records collected in Canada.

Searchable keywords include taxonomy (scientific names only), geography, collectors, identifiers, or institutions as well as BOLD Sample IDs, Process IDs, and Project Codes.

Below are the current search guidelines accepted in the system:

  • Multiple terms from the same domain can be searched to retrieve all results matching either term. For example, "Anura Caudata" will deliver results for records from both orders.
  • Multiple terms from different domains can be searched to retrieve the intersection results. For example, "Canada Aves" will return results for Aves collected in Canada only.
  • Quotation marks must be used for exact match retrieval of multi-word terms in a multi-term search. For example, "United States" Aves will deliver results for US birds.
  • The minus operator (-) will omit certain results from the search. For example, "Lepidoptera -Saturniidae" will deliver results for Lepidoptera but not Saturniidae (a family within Lepidoptera).
  • Combination searches are possible within and across domains. For example, "Biodiversity Institute of Ontario" Sesiidae -Manitoba" will deliver results for the Sesiidae stored in the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, but not collected in Manitoba.
  • BOLD Project Codes can be searched for published projects/datasets. For example, "NBCAD" will return all the records from that project.
  • Researchers names may be searched to find records that the researcher collected or identified. For example, "Xin Zhou" will deliver results for all records that were collected or identified by researcher Xin Zhou.

Search Bar Example Public Search Bar as illustrated in the Public Data Portal.

Troubleshooting for the public search bar

There are several reasons why searches may not be retrieving the desired results. These are the most commonly encountered issues:

  • A typo, spelling mistake, or invalid synonym was entered instead of the proper search term.
  • The database does not have records matching the exact search term(s); it may be useful to broaden the search.
  • An additional space was entered when using the negative sign. For example, "- Ontario" was used instead of instead of "-Ontario".
  • The search terms are retrieving results from a different domain than expected. In this case it may be useful to append a domain code to the search term, such as "[tax]", "[geo]", or "[identifier]" to narrow results to a specific domain.
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