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Appendix: Searching

The Search tool is available on all pages, sitewide and allows users to search the content of the site. It sits in the top right of all pages.

TIP: News items, calendar events, New Cases, Library resources, and listserv messages will be available for searches once your site content is indexed. Currently, the site indexes every hour. So if you've changed or posted content, you should expect to wait less than an hour before that change is reflected in search results.

probono.net uses the Verity search engine. This supports both simple word searches and boolean queries - meaning that you can refine your queries using logical operators such as "and", "or" and "not". The information below introduces how to search this site, and covers:

What is Searched?

The keyword search extends to all of the major content areas of the site. While there will be some variation, based on your membership permissions and whether these tools are in use in your area, these generally include:

  • News (not expired News)
    • Headline
    • Organization
    • Body Text
    • Author Name
  • Calendar
    • Title
    • Description
    • CLE Comments
    • City
    • State
    • Organization
  • Library
    • Organization
    • Description
    • Title
    • HTML Attachments, some PDFs and some .Docs
  • New Cases (Not expired Cases)
    • Title
    • Description
    • Organization
  • Mail List Messages
  • About, Help, and other flexible content pages
    • Title
    • Description

The following pages and items are NOT included in site search results

  • Area Home Pages
  • Pro Bono Opportunities Guide
  • Roster
  • Items that are not marked "Approved"

Keyword search indexes include all of the major fields associated with each piece of content (Title, Organization, Description, Location, etc.), and, in the case of the Library, includes the body of file attachments in most common file formats, including Word, WordPerfect, Excel, HTML and most PDF files.

Basic Queries

Most queries can be written by entering the words and phrases you're interested in.

  • Words: If you want to see documents dealing with custody you can start with a single-word query, such as:

protection: Your query finds all items that include the word protection.

  • Phrases: To see documents that refer to a series of words that occur in a specific order, such as order of protection or in forma pauperis, enter the whole phrase:

order of protection: Your query finds only items that include that exact phrase in that exact order.

Search Hints

Email Addresses

The search treats the "@" character as a blank space. If you're searching for an email address substitute a blank space for the "@" symbol in an email address.

Example: "info probono.net" will return results for "info@probono.net"

Search Results

By default, search results are displayed with all tools' results available in one, combined list. You may refine results by clicking on the tab for the tool in which you are interested. Each tab's default list shows the first 25 results of a given search . Click on the page number or "Next" links at the bottom of the page to see additional returns.

Advanced Search

This feature allows you to refine your search using any combination of three filters:

  • Tool (Library, News, Calendar, etc.)
  • Topic
  • Date Posted

Click on the Advanced Search link found below all regular search boxes to pull up the form. Follow these steps for using the form:

  • Text: You can search using any single word, phrase, or boolean string (i.e., multiple words or phrases connected by "or", "and" or "not").

You can use keywords in combination with any of the following filters or additional search fields:

  • Topic: You can limit your search to resources associated wtih any topic presented on this dropdown list.
  • Search in: This dropdown list presents all of the separate tools that are active in the area you're searching. Select any single tool to limit your search to just that area of the site (e.g., Library or News or Calendar, etc.)
  • Date Posted: Select a Date posted to limit your search to content published during the period selected.

TIP: Date Posted refers to the date an item was published onto the site, not the date on which a calendar event is being held.

TIP: Use this field to quickly find out what content has been posted since your last visit to the site. You can isolate content posted in the last week, last month, last 3 months, last 6 months, last year, or content posted before the last year.

  • Shared Content: (see below)

Shared Content Searches

One useful tool featured in the Advanced Search allows you to extend your search beyond a single area to include content published in other probono.net sites.

To conduct a shared search, follow these steps:

  • Find the Shared Content area at the bottom of the Advanced Search form.
  • Check the box next to "Search shared content from other practice areas"
  • Click "Search"

Caution: However, be aware that when conducting a shared search, content from your current Area will not be included in the results. For example, if you conduct a shared search for "guide" on www.probono.net you will not see any items available on www.probono.net that contain "guide"; you will only see content with "guide" that has been posted elsewhere and been shared.


To learn how to share content with other probono.net site, see Publishing Shared Content.

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