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How To - Search JSTOR: Refining Your Search

Proximity Searching

JSTOR search allows you to find terms that are within a set number of words of each other using the tilde (~) symbol. In this example ("debt forgiveness"~10), you will only get results with the terms debt and forgiveness within ten words of each other. You can replace "10" with a different number of words.

Boosting Term Relevance

You may increase the importance of any term in your search by using the caret (^) symbol followed by a number that represents the rise in relevance. In the example above (cat^7 dog), an occurrence of the word cat in an item is seven times more important than the word dog.

Using Field Abbreviations

You can narrow search results to a variety of item or journal information. This is possible because JSTOR uses fields for categorization of metadata. Each field is represented in a search by its abbreviation. The example above (au:smith) will find all items for which Smith is listed as an author. Appending ty:fla to a search ("great gatsby" ty:fla) will limit a search to full-length articles, and ty:brv will limit a search to book reviews. 

Other frequently used field abbreviations are:


Returns results from:



Journal title field



Article title field (does not search books title field)



Item abstract field (please note that only about 10% of articles on JSTOR include abstracts)



Illustration caption field



Journal Volume field



Other less commonly used field abbreviations include:

cty:(book) = book
cty:pamphlet = pamphlet
rt: title of a reviewed work
so: or jo: journal title
no: issue or number
sn: or in: International Standard Serials Number (ISSN)

Limiting a Search to Content in a Specific Language

JSTOR uses the Library of Congress's three letter MARC language codes in our metadata. You can append these codes to a search to limit the results to content in a specific language. An example: camus la:fre

la:ara = Arabic
la:chi = Chinese
la:dut = Dutch
la:eng = English
la:fre = French
la:ger = German
la:gre = Greek Modern
la:heb = Hebrew
la:ita = Italian
la:jpn = Japanese
la:lat = Latin
la:por = Portuguese
la:rus = Russian
la:spa = Spanish
la:swe = Swedish
la:tur = Turkish