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This guide has information on how to deposit and access IDEALS materials for individuals and collection administrators.

Browsing in IDEALS

You can browse content in IDEALS by title, author, keyword, and date. All of these options are available within a unit or collection, where you can browse using the options in drop-down menu on the right side of the screen.

To search in IDEALS, see Searching in IDEALS below. On a browse page, you can also jump to entries beginning with a specific letter. If browsing by date, you can jump to a specific time using the search bar; see the Metadata Policy to learn about the formatting of dates in IDEALS to find the best results.

You can also browse IDEALS units using thebutton at the top of every page, and choose a child unit or collection. Within some collections, you can browse through series to find individual issues. IDEALS communities generally respond to scholarly or research units; to learn more about communities and collections, see Structure of IDEALS or browse units and collections.

Searching in IDEALS

To search all of IDEALS, use the search bar at the top right corner of the page and center of the IDEALS homepage. This will search all metadata fields and the full text of any item that can be indexed by the software (most PDFs, PowerPoint documents, Word documents, plain text documents, etc.).

To limit your search to a specific unit or collection, navigate to that unit or collection and search select Simple Search or Advanced Search in the center of the page.

Advanced search

If your first search does not offer the results you need, switch to Advanced Search.

For certain searches (language, date, type) you will need to use the controlled vocabulary or encoding scheme in use by IDEALS in order to get useful results. See the Metadata Policy page for these values.

Content restrictions

You may encounter some items in IDEALS you are not immediately able to access. Restricted items can either only be viewed by active members of the University of Illinois community with a NetID and password, or be viewed only by a specific set of users.

If you want to access an Illinois-restricted dissertation or thesis, you can request a copy through your library's Inter-Library Loan office or purchase a copy from ProQuest

IDEALS encourages submitters to make their work as openly available as possible.

Search hints

Can I truncate a search term?

Use an asterisk (*) after a word stem to get all hits having words starting with that root. For example:


will retrieve items containing curate, curates, curating, curated, curator, curators, and curation. 

In addition, the search engine automatically expands words with common endings to include plurals, past tenses, etc (stemming).


Can I search for an exact phrase?

To search for an exact phrase, put quotation marks (") around it, such as:

"organizational change"


Can I eliminate results with a specific word from a search?

Put a minus (-) sign before a word if it should not appear in the search results. Alternatively, you can use NOT (note capitalization). This can limit your search to eliminate unwanted hits. For instance, in the search 

metadata -shreeves


metadata NOT shreeves

you will get items containing the word "metadata," except those that also contain the word "shreeves."


Does IDEALS support Boolean searching?

Yes, IDEALS does support Boolean searching. The following Boolean operators can be used to combine terms. Note that they must be CAPITALIZED.

AND: By default, if you search for multiple words in IDEALS they are joined together by an AND automatically. For example, 

corn protein

will retrieve all items that contain BOTH the words "corn" and "protein."

OR: To enlarge searches to find items containing any (but not all) of the words or phrases, use OR. For example, 

corn OR protein

will retrieve all items that contain EITHER the words "corn" or "protein."

NOT: To exclude items with a specific word(s) from search results, use the NOT operator before the word you wish to exclude. For example, 

metadata NOT shreeves

will retrieve items containing the word "metadata," except those that also contain the word "shreeves."

Parentheses can be used in the search query to group search terms into sets, and operators can then be applied to the whole set. For example,

(corn OR maize) not protein

will exclude "protein" from all results containing either "corn" or "maize."