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The Melammu Project

The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

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Search the bibliographies
No marker or adding "+" means and; add "-" for not or "=" for or. More help.

Match whole words only
and  or  not


How to search the Melammu bibliography


This website features various bibliographies: the thematic ones and the cumulative bibliography of the database entries. These can all be searched simultaneously through this search engine. Fill in any of the fields (at least one, but as many of you like) and click 'search' to have to search results appear in this window. For more advanced options, see below.

'Search all' and keywords

With 'Search all', you can search through all fields simultaneously. This includes the keywords field, which adds relevant terms (subjects, periods, places, persons, etc.) that do not occur in the full reference otherwise. This can greatly increase the quality of search results.

Multiple search terms per field

If you want to enter multiple search terms in one field, always separate them with a space, whether you are using flags or quotation marks or not. If you do not use a space (e.g. greek+gods instead of greek +gods), the search engine will treat the non-separated terms as one term and will not produce the results you are looking for.

Flagging search terms

Every search term can be flagged with "+", "-", "=" or nothing to require or exclude the presence of that term. These can be used in various fields, e.g. +1973 in 'Year' and +gods in 'Title'. The most effective use of the search form is for finding correlations among multiple strings.

The "+" sign
The "+" sign placed immediately before a search term will require that term to be present for a valid match. For example, searching for +god +Greeks will return only those references that contain both "god" and "Greeks" in the selected fields.

The "-" sign
The "-" sign placed immediately before a search term will cause any reference that has that term in the selected fields to be rejected. Prefixing a "-" sign to all the terms in a search will return all the entries that do not contain the search terms. Searching for +god -Greeks will return all references that contain "god" but do not contain "Greeks" in the selected fields.

The "=" sign
For search terms flagged with the "=" sign, the search engine will return references that contain one of the terms. So =gods =Greek will return all references that contain either "gods" or "Greek" or both in the selected fields. It may seem useless to include such search terms in a search that already contains terms flagged with "+", but because the list of results is sorted by the number of times the search terms occur, it is not. This means that +god +Greeks and +god +Greeks =storm will return the same references, but with the latter, references containing "storm" in the selected fields will be put on top of the list of results.

Neither "+" nor "-" nor "="
Without flags, the search engine will treat a search term as if it had a "+".

Using quotation marks

Multiword search terms must be enclosed in quotation marks or else the search engine will treat them as alternatives to be recognized separately. Searching for Greek god will make the search engine search for both "Greek" and "god", while searching for "Greek god" makes it search for the combination "Greek god".

Multiword terms enclosed in quotation marks can be flagged with the "+", "-" or "=" sign. The flag may come either before or after the opening quotation mark.


"." can be used as a wildcard. This means that searching for gree. with "Match whole words only" turned off will return references which contain "greek", "greec", greed", etc. in the selected fields. You can use multiple wildcards in a row, but remember that spaces will also count as one character (i.e., gree.. will return "greeks" and "greece", but also "greek " and "greed "). See also below.

Match whole words only

The default setting for the search is to match whole words only. The search term god will find the term as a separate word. This setting can be deselected by clicking on the checkbox in the search parameters. In this event, the search will find the term regardless of where it occurs. A search for god will find "god", "goddess", and "ungodly" (or any other word that contains these three letters in this order). The default can be restored by clicking on the checkbox again.

Ignore case

The search engine ignores case. Thus a search string god will find both "god" and "God".

Using regular expressions to extend matches

Those who are familiar with Perl regular expressions (regex) can use them in searches to extend matches without turning off the "Match whole words only" default. Searching for gree with the "Match whole words only" feature turned off will return all entries that contain "Greece", "Greek" or "Greeks" in the selected fields. However, it will also find "greed", "agree", "agreed", "agreement", "degree", and any other sequence of "gree" that it may encounter. Using the regex gree[ck][es]? with "Match whole words only" turned on will also return all entries that contain "Greece", "Greek" or "Greeks", but without the noise of unwanted sequences of "gree". "." can be used as a wildcard: searching for gree. will match any five-letter word starting with "gree".

Do not place "/" around your search string to indicate that it is a regular expression. The search engine will consider any string entered as a regex whether it contains metacharacters or not.