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Search Tips

If you are unfamiliar with searching, these step-by-step instructions will help you get relevant results. For descriptions of the fields, see the field help text. For more assistance with searching, read the Frequently Asked Questions.


Performing a Simple Search Return to top

  1. Decide on a single word or concept that describes your topic.

  2. Enter word(s) in the appropriate field(s).
      For example, if you are searching for conferences in Chicago, enter "chicago" in the City field.

  3. Click on Search.

Truncation Return to top

Right-hand truncation is available in this database by using *. Using truncation enables you to search for more than one form of a word by entering a root word and placing an * at the end of it.

    For example, if you enter "dent*" in the Sponsor field, the database will search for organizations with the root "dent" in their name.

    Your results will include:

    • American Dental Association
    • Denton AIDS Task Force


Punctuation Return to top

The system does not understand most punctuation. If you are using any form of punctuation in your search and get an error message or get no results, remove the punctuation and try your search again.


Operator Within Fields Return to top

The Operator within fields links terms within a field. Use it if you enter more than one term in a field. This option is available for the Title, Contact, Sponsor, City, Major Descriptors, and Notes fields.

For the other fields, either the operator or connects your terms, or pull-down boxes, which allow you to choose terms, are offered.

Example: If you are searching for conferences in Washington and Baltimore, you will enter both those cities' names in the City field, and link them with an "operator," either and or or.

If you select and, the database will search for conferences whose database entries (records) contain all of the words you entered in that field.

If you select or the database will search for conferences whose records contain any (one or more) of the words you entered in that field. Use or if you are searching for more than one city or country, or if you are searching for the broadest result possible.

If you are searching for a conference sponsor or city with two words in its name, use quotes around the terms, such as "Whitman Walker" or "Kansas City." For examples, see the Help Text for Fields.


Operator to Connect the Fields Return to top

The Operator to connect the fields below links the terms you have entered in the different fields. It defaults to and, but you may choose or from the pull-down menu.

The "and" operator will link all fields for which you have entered information. Choosing "or" to link your fields operator will produce a broader search because the database will search the fields separately. For example:

To find conferences sponsored by American Red Cross chapters in New York, enter the following:

Operator to
connect fields:
Operator within


Searching Phrases Return to top

If you want to search for two or more words next to each other in that order, you must use quotes.

  • To search for all conferences that will address public health, enter "public health" into the Major Descriptors field.
  • To search for all conferences in either San Diego or Los Angeles, enter the following:

        Operator within


    Refining Your Search Results Return to top

    If You Find Too Little:
    If your search is not finding any organizations, or not finding as many as you would like, you need to broaden it. Here are a few options:

    1. Remove one of the terms from your search. If you are using too many terms, you might be restricting the search too much.
    2. Look for misspellings in the terms you have entered.
    3. Change one of the terms to a broader term. For example, replace "peer counseling" with "counseling."
    4. Change an acronym to the full name of an organization. For example, replace "NAPWA" with "National Association of People with AIDS."
    5. Also see the Frequently Asked Questions.

    If You Find Too Much:
    If you get too many organizations, you need to narrow your search. Here are a few options:

    1. Make your wording more specific. For example, use "syphillis" instead of "sexually transmitted diseases."
    2. Add another word into a field. If you are searching for the word "health," you are likely to find too many records. Limit the search by entering another word to the same field, such as "mental." Also, add a term to the City or State fields.
    3. Also see the Frequently Asked Questions.


    Interpreting Your Search Results Return to top

    When you click on Search, the database runs your search. The results will appear on your screen. The documents are listed by descending dates, so that the conference that is most in the future will appear first.

    The database will display the maximum number of summaries you specified on the search page. Records are displayed by number, city, state/country, and organization name. Select a record to review its contents.


    Stopwords Return to top

    A stopword is a word that you cannot use to retrieve documents. The following stopwords were chosen because they occur so frequently that they are not useful in retrieving documents. The system will ignore any of the stopwords that you might use.

    The following is a list of stopwords that are found in this database.

    a about all among an
    and are as at be
    been between both but by
    do during each either for
    found from further has have
    however if in into is
    it its made make many
    more most must no not
    of on or same several
    some such than that the
    their these they this those
    through to toward upon used


    Frequently Asked Questions Return to top

    Included here is a list of frequently asked questions about the CDC NPIN Resources and Services Database. If you would like to submit a question to this list, send a message to us.

    Why doesn't the Conference Calendar Database retrieve any records on my topic?

    It is possible that a search may not find any records for the topic you request. This might happen for several reasons:

    • You may be searching on a subject outside the scope of this database.
    • The words you used may be misspelled.
    • Your search may be too specific. You do not need to use every line on the search form. Each line adds another restriction to the search.

    My search results gave me too many records. How can I narrow my search?

    To narrow your results, enter another term. You may enter this term either in the same field or in another field.

    Does it matter if I use upper or lower case letters?

    No, the database does not recognize the difference between upper and lower case letters.

    How do I know what words to use?

    If you think the database should have information on your topic but you are not finding any records, you may be using a term that is different from the one the database uses. Try to think of another way to phrase the concept you're looking for. Also see Refining Your Search.

    Why don't all the fields show up for each organization?

    Fields that do not show up do not include data. Not all records have information in each field.


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