How to Search

Basic and Advanced Search

You can search the Princeton Prosody Archive by clicking “Archive” in the upper righthand corner of the website header. When search fields are empty, all of the items in the Archive are displayed below. To begin a search, enter your term(s) in the Keyword or Phrase field, or click “Advanced Search” to search in the Book Title and Author fields.

  • Keyword or Phrase - searches the full text and metadata of the Archive
  • Book Title - searches the title and subtitle metadata only
  • Author - searches the author metadata only

Enter a search term or phrase into one or more of these three fields. Boolean search within a field is supported:

  • Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase. (Note: You may need to turn off Smart Punctuation if you are using iPhone or iPad.)
  • Operators (AND, OR, NOT) must be capitalized.
  • Parentheses can be used to combine operators.

If you enter multiple search terms or phrases in a single field, the search will return all items that match ANY of those terms. If you enter search terms in more than one field, the search will return only those items that match ALL of those terms.

The search is automatically submitted after text is entered or other changes are made. Clearing your search terms must be done manually. A red dot next to “Advanced Search” indicates if any Advanced Search filters are active.

Result Sorting

By default, results are sorted by relevance when a search term is entered, so items with more matches will be listed first. The search index has been configured so that matches in certain fields are considered more relevant. Matches in the author field have the highest relevance, then matches in title, followed by matches in subtitle and notes, and finally full-text matches. Exact versions of search terms and exact phrase matches are considered more relevant than partial word matches.


You can use the Publication Date and Collections fields to narrow your search results.

  • To narrow by Publication Date, type in a sequential four-digit year between 1559 and 1922 in the minimum and maximum boxes. To search a single year, enter the same year in both fields. If date fields are left blank, results are not filtered by date; the input will display the range of dates in the Archive (1559-1922). The histogram shows the distribution of publication dates for your search results.
  • You can choose which Collections are included in your search by clicking anywhere on the collection to deselect or select them. If more than one collection is selected, the search will return items that belong to ANY of the selected collections. To view all of the items within a single collection, exclude all other collections and do not enter any search terms. Excluded collections appear in white on the second row. All active collections are automatically included in your search, except for Dictionaries and Word Lists, which are excluded by default in order to avoid extraneous matches with mere lists of words found in reference material.

Power User Features

Advanced Solr Syntax

The PPA uses Apache Solr as its search platform, which allows for the following syntax in the first three search fields:

  • A single word search term or a multi-word search phrase inside quotation marks. (Note: Solr supports word stemming; for example, flower will return flowers, flowering, and flowered.)
  • Wildcard searches using ? to substitute for a single character in a search term and * to substitute for multiple characters. (Note: A search term may not begin with ? or *)
  • Fuzzy searches using ~ at the end of a search term to find words with a similar spelling. For example, anapest~ will return anapaest, anapastic, and anapestos. (Note: You can also manage how specific or “fuzzy” the search is by adding a number between 0 (less specific) and 1 (more specific) after the tilde; e.g., anapest~0.8)
  • Proximity searches between two or more search terms using quotations, a tilde, and a number; e.g., “iamb meter pentameter”~100 will return all items with those three search terms within 100 words of each other.

For more guidance, please see Apache Lucene Query Parser Syntax.

Fielded Searches in Keyword

The Keyword field supports fielded searches of the following metadata fields:

  • title
  • subtitle
  • author
  • enumcron (HathiTrust term for volume)
  • publication date [pub_date]
  • publication place [pub_place]
  • publisher
  • source id [source_id] (unique HathiTrust identification number)

Enter the lower-case field type, a colon, and your search term without any spaces after the colon. If you are entering multiple search terms, you can use quotes for exact phrase, or parentheses to match EITHER term. See the examples below: