NICE Evidence search: notes for advanced searchers by Fran Wilkie

We’ve had feedback from a number of library staff, asking how Evidence search works behind the scenes to produce the sets of results that you are presented with. We thought a set of notes for advanced searchers would give some insight to how Evidence search works, explain what happens when different search features are used, and provide some extra hints/tips for searching. The notes cover ranking of search results, word stemming (lemmatisation), synonym expansion and wildcard searching, phrase searching, Boolean operators, stop words, spelling correction and UK vs international searching.

The notes are aimed primarily at the library community, or others who are used to using more advanced searching techniques in other resources.

Sharing these notes is also an opportunity to remind everyone about NICE’s library and knowledge services staff community page, which links to our training materials and help guides. There is a range of resources there, covering both Evidence search and HDAS. Some are available in Microsoft Publisher format, enabling you to download and add your own library details, etc, if you want to.

If you have any comments on what’s already available, questions, or suggestions for additional materials that you would like to see developed centrally, please do get in touch.

Fran Wilkie
Outreach Project Manager
NICE Evidence Information Services;


We are also in the initial stages of developing some additional advanced searching features for Evidence search, including title and URL searches and user-defined date limits. I’ll post another update when these are ready for sharing.

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