a website of the Illinois State Library

Searching the EDI Website

The EDI depository has its own search engine, activated by the 'Website search' button to the left. The built-in search database is updated nightly. The description pages for each document stored in the Depository are also made available to all web search engines, including the Illinois Government Information (IGI) search engine which searches all the websites of Illinois State Government. So, you can use your favorite search engine to search the EDI holdings, however the most complete results will be obtained using EDI's built-in search engine.

The EDI search engine is an adaptation of the SWISH-E (Simple Web Indexing System for Humans Enhanced) open-source search engine.

Search page quick reference


To perform a search, simply type your chosen search terms in the search box labeled 'Query', change any default search selections (described here), and click the 'Search' button. Use quotation marks (") around phrases that must appear exactly in the typed order.

Search 'All' or 'Within Result'

After performing your initial search, if too many matches are found, you can rephrase the search or more precisely define it by clicking on 'Within Result'. This will perform a second search, but only searching within those documents which matched the first search. Type additional words to further limit your query, check the 'Search within Result' box and change any other default search selections (described here), then click 'Search'.

For example, if you begin by typing 'education' in the search box and too many results return, you can check 'Search within Results' and add the word 'adult' to reduce the number of results appropriate to your interests.

Limit Your Search

The four ways of search are specified under 'Limit Your Search':

Whole Text: the default search type. By choosing this option, the search will be restricted to the 'Keywords' and 'Description' fields provided by the originator of the document, and to approximately the first paragraph of the text of the document.

Subject Heading: By choosing this option, the search will be restricted to the 'Subject Classification' field, reflecting a topical grouping of documents. Note that a document may be classified under more than one subject classification.

Originator: By choosing this option, the search will be restricted to those metadata fields comparable to searching by author or publisher.

Document Identifier: By choosing this option, the search will be restricted to identification information about the document, and not other fields or the text of the document. Specifically, only the fields 'Original Control Identifier' (e.g., report number) and 'Document Title' are searched. The document identifier numbers are internal to government agencies.

The user also has the option to choose 'Sort by' value, and use or ignore suffixes of search terms:

'Sort By' and 'Reverse Sort'

'Best Match' is the systems' idea of the best match to your search. You can choose sort by 'Report Number', 'Title', 'Author' and 'Subject Heading' in the drop down menu.

In combination with the above options, results can be displayed in reverse order. Simply check the 'Reverse_Sort' box.

'Ignore Suffix' and 'Use Suffix'

Exactly matching a word, including its suffix, is usually not important in answering a search request. This search engine will ignore mismatches involving the most common word suffixes (e.g., 'ing', 'ed', 'ly'). For example, a search for 'public' will retrieve 'public', 'publicly' as well as 'publication'.

To force the system to consider all the letters of a word when matching, choose the 'Use suffix' button right below the sorting option.

Search Tips

Word Search

To search for a single word, type that word into the search box. Capitalization is ignored in the search. Unless you specify otherwise, by clicking to change the selection in the 'Limit Search to' box from WholeText to one of the other choices, the Whole Text option described above will be what is searched. Click on the 'Search!' button, or press Enter to perform the search.

For example, if you are searching for university information, type 'university' in the search box and the search will return all pages that include the word 'university'.

To search for multiple words, you can type the words in the search box. By default, this will return a list of only those pages including all of the words.

For example, a search on 'University Illinois' will return all pages including both 'University' and 'Illinois', and these two words are not necessarily together.

To further specify your search, you can use the Boolean operators 'and', 'or' or 'not' in multiple words search. (See more under 'Boolean operators'.)

Phrase Search

To search for a phrase in a document, put double-quotes around your search terms.

For example: search for the phrase "child care" finds documents that have the exact phrase 'Child care'. It does not find pages which contain 'child support' and 'health care'. Un-quoted, a search for 'child care' would return the pages containing 'child support' and 'health care'.
Phrase searches are especially effective if you're searching for proper names ('Carl Sandburg';) and phrases ('No Child Left Behind.')

Boolean Operators

Words or phrases can be combined in many ways to make a more complete or precise search request. The 'Boolean operators' AND, OR or NOT can be used by themselves, and in combinations, while searching.

Capitalization is ignored for search terms and for the Boolean operators (and, or, not).

And (by Default)

Without Boolean operators, or double-quotes, a typed list of words is assumed to mean 'list all documents containing all of these words'. This is called a Boolean AND operation.

If you want your search to include all words you typed, simply type these words. To restrict your search further, include more search terms. The order in which the terms are typed will not affect the search results.

For example, 'University Illinois' returns any document containing the word 'university' and the word 'Illinois'. Presumably that will include all documents addressing any university in or associated with Illinois, and not necessarily only the campuses of the University of Illinois.

'Corn soybean wheat' returns only those pages that include all of the three words.


'Or' is used to find pages that include either of the search terms. Add 'or' between each of the terms.

For example, 'university or college' returns any document containing either the word 'university' or the word 'college'.

To restrict a search further and get fewer records, you can use 'and' to include all of the words, or you can use 'not' to exclude a word.


If you want to exclude a word in your search, type 'not' before the word.

For example:

'University Illinois not extension' returns any document containing the word 'university' and the word 'Illinois', and not containing the word 'extension'.

'University Illinois Chicago' not "license plate" returns any document containing the words 'University', 'Illinois', and 'Chicago', AND NOT containing the phrase 'license plate'.

Use of Parenthesis

Parentheses are used to make your meaning clear to the search engine when you wish to do a complex search request. In most cases, when no parenthesis is being used, the search engine evaluates your typed words from left to right. To change that order of evaluation, parentheses can be used.


history and (slavery or Negro or Black) -- finds all documents containing the word 'history' AND also containing one or more of the three words 'slavery' OR the word 'Negro' OR the word 'Black'.

(soybean and disease) or 'interveinal necrosis' -- finds all documents containing both the word 'soybean' AND the word 'disease', OR those documents containing the phrase 'interveinal necrosis'.

Subject Thesaurus

Classifying a document under a specific subject heading helps readers find related documents with much better accuracy and completeness than is supported by general searching for keywords.

The thesaurus of subject terms EDI uses is the 'Jessica Tree' (see the Illinois GILS Topic Tree: Hierarchical and Illinois GILS Topic Tree: Alphabetical).

Search by Subject

To do a search across only those documents classified under a particular subject classification, click the 'by Subject' pushbutton on the navigation bar at left. A set of pages will then come up, where the choices for subject classification are all listed, in alphabetical order and expandable in outline form. Select the subject heading you want by clicking the corresponding link. You can continue to select sub-headings under each heading, until your target is found. Right above the search box, a message will remind you which subject heading you are currently searching. In the search results page, the searched subject heading will be displayed at the top of the page as a reminder, followed by the search box. The results of the search will be displayed below the search box.


To retrieve all the word variations, Wildcarding (i.e., '*') is available; however it can only be used at the end of a word.


Comput* -- This will retrieve documents containing the words computer, computing, computation, computable, computer-fest, etc.

Limitations on Search and Search Accuracy

This search engine examines both the text of web documents and author-provided descriptive 'metadata' about the document.

Not all State of Illinois documents are completely described with metadata at this time. If the source document is missing some descriptive metadata, it may not be possible to correctly match that document with a search request.

Also, if a source document does not conform to published web standards (i.e., HTML), it may not be possible for the search engine to process it, resulting in the inability to later match that document with a search request.

This search engine examines only the websites of the state government of Illinois, but not the state universities. A roster of the supported websites is listed when searching 'by Website' is selected. Other governmental bodies within Illinois (e.g., the city of Urbana, or Edgar County), and other companies, organizations, and individuals located within Illinois also operate websites, but those are not supported by this search engine.

What is the metadata standard EDI uses?

EDI uses the GILS metadata standard: modified WAGILS (Washington State's Government Information Locator Service). EDI uses metadata elements specifically tailored to Illinois government documents. See the Illinois State Library's Resources for Illinois State Agencies website.