Search Florida Memory Effectively

Florida Memory uses a semi-Boolean search. Understanding a few key concepts of this search type will help you efficiently and effectively find what you are looking for.

What Does the Search Search?

  • When you search Florida Memory, you are searching the entire database and all its associated metadata, whether displayed in the record or not.

Stemmed Searching

  • Florida Memory uses a stemmed search method which helps expands the search for slight variations.
  • For example, searching Constitution will include results for Constitutional and Constitutions.

Stop Words

  • Some words are automatically eliminated from searches to prevent large quantities of irrelevant results.
  • Generally, these are prepositions (with, at, on, for, by, etc.), conjunctions (but, and, or, etc.), articles (a, an, the), and demonstratives (this, that, these, those).


  • Operators help refine a search by removing unwanted results. Florida Memory supports several operators, including quotation marks, OR, AND, NOT, and parentheses.
  • No operators: Searching for fishing boat will return all items that contain the words fishing and boat (similar or same as AND).
  • Quotations: Searching for "fishing boat" will return instances including that exact phrase (i.e., "Fishing boat" would not return an instance for fishing on a boat).
  • AND: Searching for fishing AND boat returns all instances where both the words fishing and boat are present (Example 1).
  • OR: Searching for fishing OR boat returns all instances where either the word fishing or boat is present (Example 2).
  • NOT: Searching for fishing NOT boat returns all instances of fishing that do not include boat (Example 3).
  • Parentheses allow for complex combinations of the above searches.
    • Searching for (fishing OR boat) AND yacht returns all instances of yacht that include either the word fishing or boat (Example 4).
    • Searching for (fishing OR boat) NOT yacht returns all instances of fishing or boat that do not contain yacht (Example 5).

Venn diagram examples of boolean searches

Examples of Boolean Operators