Too many search results?
If you run a search and it returns an unmanageable number of hits, you may want to consider using additional search terms and/or search operators to focus your results.
In addition, consider using the “Date” field (one of the advanced search options) to narrow the time frame that you are searching.
Using the “Publication, City or State” field (another one of the advanced search options) to pinpoint the specific location or source that you are searching will also help reduce the number of hits returned.
Too few, or even zero, search results?
Sometimes, you may run a search that returns only a very few hits, or even zero hits. There are several issues to consider in this case.
First, double-check the spelling of your search terms. Consider using wildcards to account for variations in spelling. Remember that you are searching in historical material, some going back hundreds of years. The language used may be different from what we would use today. Consider including alternative spellings in your search statements, such as honor and honour, Massachusetts and Maffachufetts.
You may simply have used too many terms in your search. Consider reducing the number of search terms by eliminating all but the most important, critical terms. Or, if all the concepts are critical, include some synonyms for your key terms. For example, guns might be referred to as rifles or muskets or pistols, etc.
You may have made your other search requirements too stringent. Consider other search limiters that you may have used, such as date limiter, place of publication, or newspaper title. You may need to expand the time period that you are searching, for example.