Searching the Library

It is possible to search the Bahá’í Reference Library for specific words, names or phrases that are contained in all of the publications available for online viewing. Help for searching text in the online reader is provided in the section entitled “Viewing Online”.

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

Clicking a search result will display the relevant passage marked with a green border on the left side and search terms highlighted in yellow.

Filtering results

Search results can be filtered by collection or publication [screen shot]. On smaller screen sizes such as mobile devices, this can be displayed by selecting the filter icon to the left of the search box at the top of the page. Results from a certain publication can be viewed by selecting the arrow to expand the list, and selecting the publication.

By default, results are shown for texts in Authoritative Writings and Guidance. To search other publications, click the “Other Bahá’í Literature” link which can be found below the filter list.

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.

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: huququ'llah 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 a word’s proper spelling is not known, for example phonetically based on its sound.
    Example: mashrikol~

  • 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).
    Example: 'abdu'l-baha 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.