Tips for Searching

At its simplest, a query can be just a word or a phrase. But with the tips on this page, you can expand the focus of your query to give you more complete results. These tips will get you started with basic query language and acquaint you with the full power of Microsoft Index Server.

Free-Text Queries
Use Free-Text Queries if you want to enter queries using natural language. Index Server will examine your query, extract nouns and noun phrases and construct a query for you. With free-text queries you can enter any text you want, from a proper question, to a string of words and phrases, without worrying about the query language. For example, if you type in the following query:

"When is summary judgment appropriate in medical malpractice?"

Index Server will create a query for you automatically and begin the search. Note that when you're using free-text queries, the regular query language features are disabled and keywords such as AND, OR, and NEAR are interpreted as normal words.

Use Scope to search only part of the Supreme Court Website. Click to limit your search to Opinions, Lawyers Directory, Rules, Calendar, News, Notices, Joint Procedure Committee, Other Committees, Districts, Counties (and county officials), or Judges.

Use Title to search for an opinion based on the case name. This searches the short title of the case. The regular query language features can be used to search Title. Title can also be use to specify the year the opinion was issued. For instance, if you type the following query:


Index Server will return opinions with Smith in the Title. But if you type:

Smith and 1999

Index Server will return opinions with Smith in the Title which were issue in 1999.

Citation will return an opinion based on its ND or NW2d citation. If both citations are entered, the opinion is returned based on the ND citation.

Use Topic to search only opinions in a particular topic category (based on the Supreme Court docket). Click here to see a list of the topics. Only opinions for the specified topic are returned. For multi-word topics, not all words need be entered. For example, entering "Divorce" will include all the divorce topics, while entering "Alimony" will include only the "Divorce/Property Div./Alimony" topic. Or entering "Dui or Transportation" will return opinions in either the "Dui/Dus" or "Transportation Dept." topics.

Use Author to search only opinions authored by a particular Justice. Click to select the Justice. This returns opinions based on the author of the "opinion of the court," not dissents or other separate opinions.

Query Language

These hints will get you started, but for more complex queries and more examples, see the Query Language page.

© 1997 by Microsoft Corporation for some of this material.