• Send page
  • Print page

Search tips

28-06-2010 FAQ

What is the Search page?

The Search page is the gateway to all the documents on the ICRC website and to a wealth of archived documents. The questions and answers below explain how to use the Search page, and the Search syntax page explains how to carry out more complex searches.

How does Search work?

You can use Search to look for documents in two ways:

  • by carrying out a full text search;
  • by going straight to the category that interests you.

The categories present search results from different angles, such as topic, document type or place. You can use categories to only show documents in a particular category, e.g. only documents related to international humanitarian law or only photo galleries.

How do I start my search?

Option 1: Enter a term or terms in the Full Text Search field and press Enter.

This will find all documents that contain both the word displaced and the word water

Option 2: Click a link in one of the category boxes.

This will find all documents about Refugees and displaced persons.

OK, I've got my results. Now what?

You now have in front of you your initial list of results, with a results count (the number of documents found) and the number of pages. You can either leave the results listed as they are (by relevance) or you can sort them by date (most recent document first). By default, Search displays the "short" results, as shown below. To show more information about each document found, click the View Full Results button:

The Full Results view shows a thumbnail image for certain documents, together with a list of the categories the document belongs to. Clicking one of those links launches a new search.


If you started your search by entering terms in the Full Text Search field, the keywords you used are highlighted in the title and/or the summary, and continue to appear in the Full Text Search field, above your list of results.

To refine your search, use the filters on the right-hand side of the screen, as many times as necessary to get to a manageable number of results:

  • by clicking a link to show only certain documents, or by clicking Exclude to hide certain documents. In the example below, you might select all documents About the ICRC or exclude all documents of document type Article.
  • by entering additional keywords in the Search Within Results field.

How do I retrace my steps?

To keep track of where you are, look at the Your Refinements box. This shows the steps you have taken so far in your search. You can remove criteria by clicking Remove.

What can I find in Advanced Search?

Using the Advanced Search form, you can formulate complex queries without having to master boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) or specific punctuation to search on exact phrases. You can also combine a full text search with a specific date range. You can either type in dates directly in the From and To fields or select dates using the calendars.

It is not possible to search on a date range only -- you have to enter text to search for as well.

How do I start a new search?

Click the Resource Centre tab or enter new keywords in the Full Text Search field.