Search Tips

About the Search Function

This website contains many types of texts, including:
  • scholarly articles written in modern Canadian English;
  • diplomatic transcriptions of early modern texts that faithfully reproduce the inconsistent spellings typical of printed and manuscript texts from this period;
  • site informational pages; and
  • technical project documentation.
Although you can search the whole site (the default behaviour if you do not choose any search filters), it will often be more efficient to select one or more of the document types or statuses in the checkbox lists on the search page to search only a subset of the collection. Note that our document type taxonomy is hierarchical, so if you select (for example) Encyclopedia, the search will include Encyclopedia: Bibliography, Encyclopedia: Biography, and all the other descendant categories.
Generally speaking, if you search for a modern word such as love, the search engine will apply stemming and return related forms such as loving and loves. However, a search for any word will not return instances of that word with historical variant spellings. For example, the results of a search for love will not include loue. If you want to find variant spellings of usury in the diplomatic transcriptions, try adding some predictable variants to your search. See Early Modern Spelling below for information on early modern spelling.
There are two wild-card characters that can be used in searches: asterisk (*) and question mark (?). An asterisk represents zero or more characters; a question mark represents a single character. A wild-card search allows you to truncate endings, so that a search for usur* will return results that include usury, usurie, and usurer. The wild card can also be used within a word to return all possible variations in that position. For example, a search for g*ld would return gold, gould, and gowld. Combining internal and terminal wild cards would return more variants. For example, g?ld* would yield results that include golden, goldsmith, and some variant spellings thereon. You can also use a wildcard search to handle words which may contain long s (ſ) instead of the regular s. Please note that when wildcards are used at the beginning of a word, the search may take a long time to complete.
You can also use plus and minus signs to specify that a term must or must not be in the results. For example, searching for +love +like -hate will find documents that contain both love and like but not hate
When searching for placenames which may have variant spellings, the simplest approach is to search for the modern canonical name first; if there is an entry in the encyclopedia for the place, you can visit that page to see a list of all the variant spellings occurring in the collection, with links to the documents containing them.
If you are searching for a proper name, use appropriate capitalization, and also quotation marks. For example, to search for someone called Spearing, use "Spearing". This ensures that stemming does not take place, meaning that only instances of the exact name will be found, not spear, speared, and so on.

Early Modern Spelling

To cover the maximum number of variant spellings in a full-text search, keep in mind the following peculiarities of early modern typography:
  • i and j were interchangeable. If you were looking for the word journey, you might try iourney as well.
  • u and v were interchangeable. If you were looking for the word usury, you might try vsvry, vsury, and usvry as well.
  • w was often spelled using a double v, especially in the upper case. If you were looking for water, you might try vvater as well.
Renaissance orthography (spelling) was not standardized. Here are a few tips:
  • Try replacing i with y. For example, search for both ivy and yvy.
  • Try adding a terminal e. For example, search for both gold and golde.
  • Try replacing -y endings with -ie and -ye. For example, search for lady, ladie, and ladye.
  • Try replacing -ed endings with -’d. For example, search for both placed and plac’d.
  • Try doubling consonants and adding an e. For example, search for both dog and dogge.
  • Vowels can be spelled in multiple ways. For example, gold can also be spelled gould and gowld.
For more information about early modern orthography, we recommend Carl B. Smith and Eugene W. Reade’s Word History: A Guide to Understanding the English Language. See especially the section titled Orthography and Printing in Shakespeare’s Day.


  • Citation

    Smith, Carl B., and Eugene W. Reade. Word History: A Guide to Understanding the English Language. Bloomington: Indiana U, 1991. Print.

    This item is cited in the following documents:

Cite this page

MLA citation

Holmes, Martin D., Janelle Jenstad, and Melanie Chernyk. Search Tips. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022,

Chicago citation

Holmes, Martin D., Janelle Jenstad, and Melanie Chernyk. Search Tips. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022.

APA citation

Holmes, M. D., Jenstad, J., & Chernyk, M. 2022. Search Tips. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Holmes, Martin
A1  - Jenstad, Janelle
A1  - Chernyk, Melanie
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Search Tips
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 7.0
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 

TEI citation

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