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ORA: Oxford University Research Archive: Searching ORA

A guide to using ORA for storing and disseminating digital copies of Oxford research publications including theses

Stop words

 'Stop words' are common words which do not (generally) add value in searching and are excluded.  

ORA's stop words are:  

a, an, and, are, as, at, be, by, for, from, has, he, in, is, it, its, of, on, that, the, to, was, were, will, with


Search tips

Boolean searching

Where possible full text searching is enabled in ORA records. The search box in ORA is based on Boolean search parameters.

Boolean searches are carried out using terms like AND, OR, NOT, BETWEEN and WITHIN. These terms specify what words the results of your search should or should not contain, and how close your search terms should be to each other.

AND - retrieves items that include all the terms entered, the & symbol can also be used (example: rotation AND magnetic) 

OR - retrieves items that include at least one of the terms (example: rotation OR magnetic)

NOT - excludes any items that contain this term (example: rotation NOT magnetic: rotation will be searched but not magnetic)

(  ) – gives greater precedence to the search term within the brackets. Example (rotation OR magnetic) OR spin. The search will retrieve records that contain all of the search terms (rotation, magnetic and spin) but precedence will be given to searching for the terms rotation or magnetic

BUT - allows you to specify one word and exclude another (example: rotation BUT NOT magnetic) which will provide search results for records that contain the word rotation but not those that contain rotation and magnetic together

Between – allows you to search for words in a specific order, between two others (example: spin BETWEEN magnetic AND rotation)

WITHIN – allows you to search for words that are within a certain distance from each other. For example: magnetic spin WITHIN 4, will provide results for records that contain the words magnetic and spin within 4 words of each other in any order.

ADJ – allows you to search for terms a specific distance from each other and in a specific order. For example: magnetic rotation ADJ 2 will provide results of records where the words magnetic and rotation are contained within two words of each other and with the word magnetic appearing first.

Specific ORA search terms

Heaney - retrieves items where Heaney appears anywhere (including as author or in abstract)

author:Heaney - retrieves items where the author is tagged as Heaney 

faculty:Classics - retrieves items where the faculty or department is tagged as Classics

oxfordCollege:Wolfson - retrieves items where the Oxford college is tagged as Wolfson

supervisor:Compton - retrieves items where the thesis supervisor is tagged as Compton

funder: "Wellcome Trust" - retrieves items where the funding body is tagged as Wellcome Trust

thesis_type:"DPhil" - retrieves all theses tagged as D.Phil.

thesis_type:"DPhil" AND faculty:philosophy - retrieves all theses tagged as D.Phil. from the Faculty of Philosophy


Phrase searching

Most phrases can be found by adding quotations to your search term, i.e. “magnetic spin resonance” will bring results with records containing that term, but the accuracy and scale of those results will be broader than the specific searches mentioned above. Wildcard searching can also be employed in ORA search by the use of an * when a specific word or part of a word is not known (example: magnetic spin res*).

ORA also has a 'Browse' feature.

Oxford Research Archive






Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) is an institutional repository for the University of Oxford and is home to the scholarly output of its research members. It holds publications, theses and research data.

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NOTICE: Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic ORA services are remote working with limited access. Please use the contact us form or email directly. Phones are currently unmanned with voicemails being accessed intermittently.