Search help

In addition to using the SEARCH OPTIONS within the landing page for each country, disaster, jobs section and training section, you can now build complex search queries right in the search box.

1. Boolean search operators

You can use any combination of AND, OR and NOT, parentheses to group search terms, as well as quotation marks for exact phrases. For example:

  • consolidated NOT appeal searches for anything that has consolidated but not appeal
  • consolidated AND appeal searches for anything that has both consolidated and appeal
  • consolidated OR appeal searches for anything that has either consolidated or appeal
  • "consolidated appeal" searches for the exact phrase consolidated appeal
  • (consolidated OR flash) AND appeal searches for anything that has the word consolidated or flash as well as the word appeal

2. Searching metadata fields

1. Available fields

You can now look for words in the specific fields below:

  • title
  • body
  • primary_country
  • country
  • source
  • source.shortname
  • source.type
  • theme
  • format
  • language
  • vulnerable_groups
  • disaster
  • disaster.type

Many of these fields contain a predefined set of terms. For a complete list, see Taxonomy Descriptions.

2. Searching for exact terms

The fields below have an extended form to allow searching for exact terms. This form is FIELD.exact.

  • primary_country.exact
  • country.exact
  • source.exact
  • source.shortname.exact
  • source.type.exact
  • theme.exact
  • format.exact
  • language.exact
  • vulnerable_groups.exact
  • disaster.exact
  • disaster.type.exact


  • primary_country:Sudan returns documents with "Sudan" in the primary country field so it returns documents with either "Sudan" or "South Sudan".
  • primary_country.exact:Sudan on the other hand returns only documents with primary country "Sudan".

Important: this exact form is currently case sensitive. So searching with primary_country.exact:sudan (no capital letter) will return 0 results.

3. Examples

1. Limiting search to specific fields

You can limit your searches to specific fields using field_name:. For example:

title:“humanitarian response plan”

finds all Reports with “humanitarian response plan” in the title.

Other than Title, search can be limited to Body via body:, and so on.

2. Multiple exact phrases

You can match multiple exact phrases by doing ”some phrase” ”another phrase”. For example:

”humanitarian response plan” ”central african republic”

finds all Reports that have both “humanitarian response plan” and “central african republic”.

3. OR searches for exact phrases

You can use "OR" to do OR searches for multiple strings. With the above example:

”humanitarian response plan” OR ”appeal”

finds Reports that contain either ”humanitarian response plan” OR “appeal”.

4. Multiple exclusions

Similarly, you can exclude multiple exact phrases by doing -”some phrase” -”another phrase”, or using NOT. For example:

chad OR cameroon -”humanitarian response plan” -”central african republic”


chad OR cameroon NOT ”humanitarian response plan” NOT ”central african republic”

finds all Reports that have either Chad or Cameroon, but neither “humanitarian response plan” nor “central african republic”.

5. Grouping and fields.

You can group search terms using parentheses. For example:

country:(Char OR Cameroon) AND title:(”humanitarian response plan” OR ”appeal”)

finds all Reports with either Chad or Cameroon as country and ”humanitarian response plan” or ”appeal” in the title.

You can build very complex searches this way - for example, the following search allows you to find relevant content on the issue of community engagement by combining words in title, organizations and themes:

(title:(communities OR affected OR beneficiaries) AND title:(accountability OR communication OR communications OR communicating OR information)) OR source.shortname.exact:(Internews OR CDAC) OR (title:(radio OR connectivity) AND theme:logistics) OR title:SMS