Searching Publications

The Bahá’í Reference Library has the capacity to search for specific words, names or phrases contained in all of the publications available for download and online viewing.

Searching the library

Searches can be performed from anywhere in the Library using the search box in the site navigation menu.

Search result

Search “Other Bahá’í Literature”

Search pagination

Result filters

Each search result contains the publication title that links to the passage, a brief “snippet” that provides context for the search result, and reference information. Clicking a search result link will open the selected passage in the publication with the search terms highlighted.

By default results are limited to Authoritative Writings and Guidance. To search other publications, click the “Other Bahá’í Literature” link which appears in the upper right area after performing a search.

When a search produces many results, they are divided into pages of 20 results. To view results beyond the first page, select a page number from the bottom of the results.

Search results can also be filtered by collections or publications. To view results from a certain collection, select the collection from the right column of the search page. Results from a certain publication can be viewed by selecting “List by publication” to expand the list, and selecting the publication.

Searching within a publication

Order results

Search box


Search navigation

Show all results

While viewing a publication, entering a query into the search bar on the right side of the toolbar will search within that publication.

By default, search results are sorted by relevance. Results can be sorted by order of appearance in the publication by selecting “Order by: location”.

To clear the search and return to viewing the publication, select either “Clear Search” or the ‘x’ icon next to the search box.

When searching within a document, following a result link will open the document at the selected passage with the search terms highlighted. In addition, the search navigation bar will appear. The “Next” and “Previous” buttons cycle through the results while in this view. To return to the list of results, select “Show all results,” and to clear the search and return to viewing the publication select either “Clear Search” or the ‘x’ icon next to the search box.

Improving search results (Query Syntax)

  • In general, adding terms to a search query will reduce the number of results, while removing terms will expand the results.

  • Search terms are treated as case-insensitive.

  • Punctuation and common words like “the”, “a”, and “for” are usually ignored.

  • Since publications are indexed at the paragraph level, using words that will appear together in the same paragraph will be more effective.

To further refine or limit the search results, the following search “operators” can be utilized:

  • Double quotes (“”) surrounding a term search for an exact word of phrase.
    Example: “Right of God”

  • A dash (-) before the word excludes results that contain the identified word.
    Example: obligatory -prayer

  • Including OR (uppercase) matches one or several words together.
    Example: Huqúqu’lláh OR “Right of God”

  • A question mark (?) matches individual unknown or “wildcard” character,
    Example: ri?van

  • An asterisk (*) matches unknown or “wildcard” sequences of characters or an entire word.
    Example: huq*

  • A tilde (~) searches for a word when you don’t know its proper spelling, for example phonetically based on its sound
    Example: mashrekol~

  • Appending a tilde (~) with a number specifies that words in a phrase should be separated by no more than the given number of words
    Example: “justice mercy”~1

  • Words and phrases can be combined using parenthesis and the following “Boolean” operators: AND, OR, NOT (uppercase)—their respective symbolic equivalents are: && || - .
    Example: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá AND (interpreter OR exemplar)

Note: Content such as title pages, introductory text, footnotes, endnotes, and other front or back matter has not been indexed for search.