How Do I Search the Site ?

There are many different ways to find resources on the SWPHO website. These are outlined below.

Basic search

Basic Search enables users to search all SWPHO resources using simple search keywords.

Search terms are matched with any part of a resource's metadata. For example, entering the word “age” would match all of the following:

  • age standardisation
  • Web pages collection
  • Management of chronic renal failure
  • Images and maps collection

Tip: If you wish to match for “Age” as a word in its own right and ignore occurrences of the word “age” in the middle of other words, then put a space before and after the word, as shown in sample search #1.

Sample search #1: “ age “

This would then return the following result:

  • Age standardisation

To find all resources related to cancer, simply enter the word “cancer” (without quotes) in the search box and click the Go button. This will return all resources with the metatag “cancer” as one of their metadata items as well as any resources that contain the word cancer, for example:

  • The NHS Cancer Plan
  • Cancerous Lumps
  • Cancer-causing agents

You may also enter multiple words to match for more than one word at a time. Do not use quotes or commas. See sample search #2 below.

Sample search #2: cancer tumour breast benign

Please note that in sample search #2, each of these words must appear in the metadata to return a match. Sample search #2 shown above means “Show me all the resources that have the words cancer AND tumour AND breast AND benign in the metadata”

To match a phrase, include the words in quotes. Examples:

Sample search #3: “bone cancer”

Sample search #4: “survival rates”

Sample search #5: “mortality from suicide”

If you wish to specifically exclude certain words or phrases from your search then precede them with a minus sign. See example below:

Sample Search #6: screening cancer –cervix –cervical

Sample search #6 means “Show me all the matches for resources where the metadata contains the words “screening” AND “cancer” but does not include either cervix or cervical”. This would return matches for screening which exclude resources with the metatags cervix or cervical.

Advanced search

Advanced search gives you greater search flexibility.

General Words and Phrases

In the “All words” field you can search for words or phrases that must appear in the resource metadata in order to be matched.

In the “Exact Phrase” field enter the phrase you wish to match on, without quotes. For example:

Cancer registration in England

To specifically exclude certain words from your search then use the “Without Words” field. See example below:

screening cancer –cervix –cervical

This would return matches for screening which exclude resources with the metatags cervix or cervical.


This section contains fields that search the title and description fields of the metadata in our resource database. For example, entering “cancer” in the title field will return results only where cancer appears in the title of the resource. The description field works in the same way but only searches the description field.

The “Type” dropdown box allows you to search by resource type. For example, to view only presentations in which “cancer” appears in the title field, enter “cancer” in the title field, and “presentation” as the type.


The coverage section allows you to search by geographic region or time period.

The “Spatial Area” field allows you to search for resources matching a particular geographic area. Entering “Cornwall” in the spatial area field would return results where the spatial coverage contained “Cornwall”.

The “From” and “To” fields accept numerical dates to define a time period to which a resource relates. This time period is called the “temporal coverage” of the resource. If you wish to restrict the results returned from your search to a particular time period then input the date range in the “from” and “to” fields. For example, to return all resources containing “cancer” in the title and which refer to year 2001 enter “cancer” in the title field and “01/01/2001” in the from field and “31/12/2001” in the “to” field.

Interoperable Searching

The SWPHO website now allows interoperable searching. For further information on interoperability visit the What is Interoperability? help page.

To access the interoperability controls click on the options link underneath the website searchbox, or click here.