Search Tips

Search Tips – The Red Book Online

Some ways to help you find quality results faster


Narrow your results using keyword and/or community filters
Search results can be narrowed by a group of filters on the left side of the search results page. Choose an item from one of these filters to limit the results to resources tagged with that item. Results can be filtered by the following types of keywords:

Issue or Topic (e.g. Parenting)
Type of Service (e.g. Training)
Demographic (e.g. Parents)

They can also be filtered by the Community Served by a resource.


Use the advanced search functions
The basic search tries to match any search terms to words found in the resource pages. The advanced search checkboxes make the search more precise by applying restrictions to the search.

The All these words box finds only resources that contain all the search terms entered. This is useful for avoiding partial matches if you are searching for a particular phrase or for a full combination of words.

The Search by name only box finds resources where the search terms match only the name of the organization or service. This is useful if you are looking for a resource by name or for a particular organization.


Improve your searches by understanding our subject terms
Every service on the Red Book Online is tagged with subject terms from our in-house indexing system. We tag resources in systematic way so that similar services will all be indexed similarly. Refer to this list of the most common index terms on the Red Book Online (pdf), and use the terms to guide your searches.

Note that these terms are reflected in the Narrow Results filters, but are not visible on any resource page.


To find resources in a community, use that community as a search term
The Try to find locations closer to me function orders the results based on how close they are to a community, but it won’t actually restrict the results to just that community. To do this, try using the community as a search term and selecting All These Words. This will restrict the search to resources tagged with that community. For example:

‘Counselling for youth’, locations closer to Burnaby results: approx. 300

‘Counselling for youth Burnaby ‘ results: approx. 30


Start with “all” the results and filter down
To find as many results as possible, enter a community in the Try to find locations closer to me box and leave the main search box blank. This will provide all the resources in the Red Book Online within 100 kilometres of the community entered. Then use the filters on the left to filter down.

Note that the filters will not show all the possibilities if the list is too long. They will initially only show the most common subject terms.

Also note that for the search box to be blank a community must be entered in the Try to find box. Totally blank searches are not permitted.


Avoid special characters
The search does not respond well to special characters such as ampersands (&) or at symbols (@). Avoid them as search terms.


Consider adding or removing terms based on potential word matches
Very common human services terms such as service, support and help will be found in many records. Consider restricting your search terms to ones that are unique and/or closely related to your desired topic or area of interest.


Try using synonyms
At this time the Red Book Online does not have a thesaurus function. The search looks for the exact words typed, not any synonyms of those words. This means that it sometimes pays to try multiple searches to broaden (or narrow) a search. For example:

‘Services for teens  Surrey’: approx. 5 results

‘Services for teenagers  Surrey’: 0 results

‘Services for youth  Surrey’: approx. 80 results


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