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Searching the Clinton Digital Library


The Clinton Digital Library contains documents, photos, videos, and audio recordings from the William J. Clinton presidency, 1993-2001. Most collections are organized hierarchically by White House Office & Staff names; collections created by Freedom of Information Act requests are organized topically by title. The great majority of documents in the Clinton Digital Library are keyword searchable. Use the tips below to find the best search results.

General Navigating and Tags

After initially searching you can narrow your search results further by selecting one of the many options on the left hand side. These catagories include tags, collection title or number, and item type.

Tags - have been applied to all finding aids, photos, videos, and many of the declassified documents on topics of foreign policy. Tags link together exact terms.

Collection Number or Title - you can also narrow down your results to specific collections by selecting the collection title or collection in the left hand column under Collection or Collection No. Upon selecting the collection number or title you will recieve results with your search terms only found in the selected collection.

Item Types - include results such as text (documents), still image (photographs), moving image (videos), sound (audio recordings), and websites.

Locations - available for videos and photos, locations specify where a photo was taken or where a video was recorded.

Boolean and Phrase Searching

Boolean searching is the best way to find less (narrows) or find more (broadens) results. Boolean searching depends on the use of three terms: AND, OR, and NOT combined with your search terms surrounded by parentheses. 

Phrase searching is surrounding two or more words in quotation marks to find documents that have the exact phrase in them. For example, searching ("Office of National Drug Control Policy") you will retrieve documents that all have those words in that exact order.

AND - by using the word AND in your search, you can tell the digital library to only find items in which both search terms occur. Typing (Cuba AND "trade embargo") will give results for only documents that have the term Cuba and the phrase "trade embargo" in them.

OR - by using the term OR, you can retrieve items that contain any of the search words. This keeps from having to search multiple times for each of the words. For example, typing (Cuba OR "trade embargo") will produce results for documents that have Cuba and/or "trade embargo" in them. Using OR in your searching will produce the most results.

NOT - by using the word NOT in a search, you are telling the Clinton Digital Library to find information on one topic, but not on a related one. For example, typing (Cuba NOT "trade embargo") will only result in documents that mention Cuba and do not mention the phrase "trade embargo" in them. 

Proximity Searching

Proximity searching is a way to search for two or more words that occur within a certain number of words from each other. You can do proximity searching by entering your two search terms in quotation marks followed by a tilde (~) and the number of words between your search terms. For example, "memorandum science"~10 would search the words memorandum and science within 10 words of each other.

Wildcard Searching

A wildcard is a special character, here an astrisk (*) that represents one or more other characters. For example if your search was, speech* the results would contain all documents with the words speech, speeches, speechwriter, or speechwriting. Wildcard searching uses the astrisk (*) as a placeholder and searches all documents for the beginning part of the word as in this example with the term speech.

Finding Aid Searching

The majority of collections available for research at the Clinton Presidential Library are not yet scanned nor made available online. To only find content listed in a finding aid search for your topic using the above boolean and phrase searching techniques. Upon receiving the search results select the tag "Finding Aid" to show only finding aids with your search terms.