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 (Everything), it will often be more efficient to select one of the document types in the drop-down list on the search page to search only a subset of the collection.
A full-text search for any word will not return instances of that word with variant spellings. For example, if you type usury into the search box, the results will not include usurie. If you want to find variant spellings of usury in the diplomatic transcriptions, try using a wild-card or fuzzy search, or try entering different search terms. 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.
Another strategy is to use a fuzzy search. This will find matches which are similar to the word you have entered. To do a fuzzy search, add the tilde character (~) to the end of the word. For example, a search for abchurch~ will retrieve variants such as Vpchurch and Apechurch. It will also retrieve church, since that is also similar to abchurch, so fuzzy searching can be less specific than wild-card searching, but it does provide more flexibility when a word is subject to variation, and it can help to identify spelling variants. Fuzzy searching uses Levenshtein Distance to measure similarity, and the level of similarity can be defined by appending a number between 0 and 1 after the tilde. For instance, shoreditch~0.5 will retrieve a range of variants including scoreditch and sewersditch; if you decrease it to 0.4, words such as wherewith and houndsditch will be included. The default value for fuzzy searching is 0.5. Fuzzy searching is also slow compared with a simple word search.
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.
Searches are not case-sensitive.

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. You could also use a wildcard: ?ourney.
  • 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. Alternatively, a wild-card search is possible (see above). For example, lad* would return all possible endings, and g?ld would return all vowel variations.
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.

References

  • Citation

    Smith, Carl B., and Eugene W. Reade. Word History: A Guide to Understanding the English Language. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills (Indiana University), 1991.

    This item is cited in the following documents:

Cite this page

MLA citation

Jenstad, Janelle, Melanie Chernyk, and Martin D. Holmes. Search Tips. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Web. 09 April, 2018. <http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/search_tips.htm>.

Chicago citation

Jenstad, Janelle, Melanie Chernyk, and Martin D. Holmes. Search Tips. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed April 09, 2018. http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/search_tips.htm.

APA citation

Jenstad, J., Chernyk, M., & Holmes, M. D. 2018. Search Tips. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/search_tips.htm

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

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

TY  - ELEC
A1  - Jenstad, Janelle
A1  - Chernyk, Melanie
A1  - Holmes, Martin
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Search Tips
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2018
DA  - 2018/04/09
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  - http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/search_tips.htm
UR  - http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/xml/standalone/search_tips.xml
ER  - 

RefWorks

RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Jenstad, Janelle
A1 Chernyk, Melanie
A1 Holmes, Martin
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 Search Tips
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2018
FD 2018/04/09
RD 2018/04/09
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English
LK http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/search_tips.htm

TEI citation

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Personography