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Dart Research Database: the Definitive Bibliography of Scholarship on Journalism and Trauma

Produced by the Dart Research Lab at the University of Tulsa and the
Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Advanced Syntax

The User Guide covers the basic issues of how to search the Dart Research Database, but to take full advantage of the search engine requires knowledge of its more advanced functions. For an even more technical discussion of these features, see the Sphinx documentation.

The “or” operator (|)

When using search, the operator | (shift+\ on most keyboards) acts like the word “or.” In other words, searching “murder | communication” returns all results that include the term “murder,” in addition to all the results that include the term “communication.”

Exclude terms (-)

Attaching a minus sign immediately before a term allows you to exclude that term. So searching “murder -communication” returns all the results that include the term “murder,” omitting those that also include the term “communication.”

Search specific fields (@)

The default setting is to search all the fields of all the citations in the database, but typing @ immediately before the name of a bibliographic field allows you to narrow the search to that field. For example, searching “@abstract murder @journal communication” returns all citations with the term “murder” in the abstract and with the term “communication” in the journal title. It is also possible to search across multiple fields by replacing the individual field name with multiple field names, grouped in parentheses and separated by commas. For example, searching “@(journal, abstract) murder communication” returns results that include “murder” or “communication” in either the journal title or the abstract. (For a complete list of available field titles see the Field Titles List.)

Phrase search (“”)

Putting quotation marks around a string of words searches for that exact sequence of terms. Searching ““murder and communication”" returns only results that include the text string “murder and communication.”

Proximity search (“”-#)

Adding a minus sign followed by a number immediately after a two-term phrase search instead performs a proximity search, returning results where those two terms occur with fewer words in between them than the appended number. For instance, searching ““murder communication”-10”, returns all results where the terms “murder” and “communication” both occur with fewer than 10 words in between them.

Quorum matching (“”/#)

Adding a forward slash followed by a number immediately following a phrase search of any length will instead perform a quorum search, returning results that contain the indicated number of words, or more, from the indicated phrase. For example, searching “ “murder homicide killing communication media journalism”/3” returns all citations that include three or more of the six terms inside the quotation marks.

Field Titles List

The authors name written “Lastname, Firstname.” Example: Smith, John


The title of the article.


The name of the journal or other publication in which the article was published.


The text of the full or abridged abstract for the article (where available).


The volume number of the journal in which the article appeared (where relevant).


The issue number of the journal in which the article appeared (where relevant).


The page numbers in which the article appeared, written “##-##.” Example: 23-58


The year in which the article was published (where available).


The name of the publisher of the journal in which the article appeared. Example: Haworth Press