allows you to search the full text of more than 410.000 documents. This page explains how to combine search terms and use filters:

How do I combine search terms?

Search terms may be combined using Boolean operators. Alternatively, you can use our search form's "Easy Search" option - more information on that option is available in this blog post.


The AND operator (in all capital letters) is the connection used as default when no operator is given.

It finds documents containing all the search terms.

"Tamil Tigers" AND government AND talks
"Tamil Tigers" government talks

both lead to the same results: finding documents containing the phrase Tamil Tigers, and the term government, and the term talks


The OR operator (in all capital letters) finds documents containing at least one of the search terms

conscription OR desertion

finds documents containing either conscription, or desertion, or both


The NOT operator (in all capital letters) excludes search terms:

genocide NOT Darfur

finds documents containing the term genocide, but not the term Darfur

How do I group search terms?


Quotation marks define a group of words as phrase and search for the whole phrase.

"organised crime"

finds documents containing the whole phrase organised crime

Alternatively, you can use our form's "Easy Search" option, which features a seperate field for phrases.


Search operators can be grouped logically using parentheses.

(queer OR lesbian) AND discrimination

finds documents containing the term discrimination, and one or both of the terms queer or lesbian

"... ..."~n

Proximity Search is represented by quotation marks, followed by a tilde ~ and a number.
It finds terms that are within a distance of n words from each other

"amnesty rebels"~5

finds documents containing the terms amnesty and rebels within a distance of 5 words from each other

How do I search for spelling variations?'s full-text search is supported by a bilingual thesaurus developed specifically for the context of COI: terms which are included in the COI Thesaurus are automatically searched in both English and German. Spelling variations and synonyms are also automatically included in your search for these terms. If necessary, you may switch off this feature by selecting "no" in the "Use COI Thesaurus" drop-down. To find out more, please read our blog post on the COI Thesaurus.

Furthermore, the following functions help you finding spelling variations:


Wildcard search: an asterisk * serves as placeholder for any number of characters (from zero to many, within one word)


finds documents containing words beginning with homosex, for instance: homosexual, homosexuals, homosexuality, as well as the German words homosexuell, Homosexualit├Ąt, etc.


Wildcard search: a question mark ? serves as placeholder for exactly one character within a word.


finds documents containing the English transcriptions Sarkisian or Sarkisyan as well as the German transcription Sarkisjan, for instance.


Fuzzy Search, represented by a tilde ~ at the end of a word, helps to find words that are spelled in a similar way as your search term


finds documents that contain, for instance, Qanuni as well as documents containing Qanooni

How do I use filters?

You can refine your search using filters on:

- Country
- Source
- Document type
- Document language
- Publication date

You can select more than one filter, and you can choose how to apply the filters. For instance, you can either limit your search to maps, or exclude maps from your search, by selecting Maps as filter for "document type" and then choosing the appropriate operator in the drop-down.

As another example, you can select multiple sources and choose the "OR" operator (which is enabled by default) to receive documents from any of the selected sources. To exclude specific sources from your results, change the operator to "NOT".

Can I search in a specific field of a document? For instance, only in the document's original title?

Yes. You can search for terms appearing specifically in a document's original title, or in's brief description of a document. For more details, please see: search syntax for specific fields. Additionally, our "Easy Search" provides this function.

Searching for a document for which you know the ID

If you know the ID number of a document, you can access the document by searching for # followed by the number. For instance: To perform an ID-search for a report of the UN Security Council with the ID number 238354, you enter #238354 into the search field and start the search. This will lead you to the following document:

Search help leaflet

You can download the following two-page leaflet containing information on how to use's search: search help leaflet (PDF)