You can search for texts from anywhere on the Victorian Women Writers Project site by using the search form in the top right corner of the site above the banner image. This form will conduct a search for your search terms anywhere within an item.

Search allows you to search on up to three terms or phrases joined by the expressions AND and OR. The terms in a search are entered into separate text boxes and are operated on from left to right. This means some care must be taken in formulating the search. For example, if you wanted to find texts with marriage or money troubles, the search should be marriage OR money AND trouble. The search engine will first search for all texts containing either the phrase "marriage" OR "money." It will then search the retrieved set for the phrase "trouble." The revised set will be retrieved, duplicates will be eliminated and the final results displayed.

Search terms can be entered in upper or lower case. Our search engine is NOT case-sensitive.

Common words, especially prepositions like the, a, etc. are considered stop words and are ignored during searching unless an exact phrase search is conducted.

The following fields have been indexed for Keyword searching:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Publication Year
  • Source (Publication Information)
  • Genre
  • Subject (Library of Congress Subject Heading)

Boolean Searching: AND/OR

AND Searches

To refine or narrow your search, add more terms to your query. For instance the query, divorce, will return more results than divorce law. Use specific terms if you know your precise search. Keep in mind that too many terms could also restrict your search results.

OR Searches

To expand or broaden your search results, use the OR operator. For instance, if you are looking for records about war, your query may be constructed as follows:

  • civil war OR holy war
  • civil war OR holy war OR bloody war

Keep in mind that broad terms combined in an OR search could yield too many results.

Exact Phrase Searching

To find proper names of titles or common phrases, use exact phrase by adding double quotation marks ("") to your query:

  • "Anarchism and Violence"
  • "My Dear Friend"


Use the asterisk (*) at the end of your search terms to find terms in the record with ending variations:

  • sea* will find texts with sea, seas, seal, and seamstress

Using an asterisk (*) generally broadens search results. We recommend that you search plural as well as singular forms of words to ensure hits. Single wildcard searching (?) is not available but adding an asterisk at the end of your search term is an easy way to do this. You can also use an asterisk to match one or more unknown characters in a search string:

  • gr*y will find texts containing gray, Gregory, greasy, or gravity

Multiple Terms in One Search Box

Multiple terms typed into one search box will be automatically interpreted as a Boolean search using AND. If this is not the desired search, use double-quotes to make the phrase an exact phrase. Entering the query miss brown in one box will conduct the search miss AND brown, which will yield many results. If texts containing "Miss Brown," the person, are the desired result, the exact phrase "miss brown" will work better to bring up that result.

Search Fields

You can search within any one of the following four fields: keyword (default), author, title, and publisher.

Search Filters


All publication years, 1830-1929, are searched unless otherwise specified. You can search one year by selecting a year (e.g. 1891) in the "Year" box and "To" box or you can search a year range by selecting two years in the "Year" and "To" boxes (e.g. 1891-1895). A year or year range search can be executed without entering search terms.


You can browse Victorian Women Writers' texts alphabetically by author or title, chronologically by year, by genre tag cloud, or by a timeline showing publications and authors' lives in relation to each other and historical events from the same time period (1800–1960). When browsing by author or year, the total number of texts associated with that author or year range is shown next to the browse entry in parentheses. The genre tag cloud shows genres with higher total numbers in larger font size and brighter red font color. The results for a browse entry by author, title, and genre will sort by relevance to the browse entry but you can also sort by title, author, or publication year. When browsing by publication year, results will be ordered by publication year but you can also sort by relevance, title, or author.

The timeline contains three timeline bands: authors, publications, and historical context. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll the timeline left and right or use your mouse to click and drag the timeline left and right. Select the red dot next to a timeline item to see a dialogue bubble with more details of the event. If a publication timeline item is selected, that dialogue bubble will contain a link to the publication.

The Home page also offers access to browse by featured authors. Select an author by clicking on her picture or name and you will see the texts available by that author.

Search Results

The results page provides an array of functionality to help you manipulate your current results set by using the available filters. The results list is arranged by relevance to the search conducted. The result for each item retrieved includes the title, author, publication year, and source of the item (publication information) and up to the first 3 snippets of full text where the search terms appear within the item. Search results can be sorted by the following: relevance, title, author, and publication year.

View text

Results are linked to the full text of the item through the Title as well as the Search Terms in Context.

Results Feedback

On top of every results page is the search results information section. This section contains various types of feedback meant to help you refine or rethink your search such as query feedback, number of results retrieved, links to paginate within your result set, ways to filter your results, and access to your list of My Selections. Some of these features are explained in greater detail below.

Query Feedback

The top of the results feedback section displays the query you initiated. Display variations are contingent upon the type of search you conduct. If your search contained multiple terms entered in separate fields, those terms can be removed individually from the search by clicking the red "[X]" next to that search term. If only one search term or one group of terms was searched from a single field, the "[X]" can be used to return to the Search page to conduct a new search.

Default Results Display

Your query will return 20 records per page by default, sorted in order by relevance to your search term(s). Results can also be sorted by author, title, or publication year (descending) using the "Sort by" drop-down menu. The number of results per page can be adjusted to 10, 20, or 50 results per page using the "Results per page" drop-down menu.

Keyword Search

If you used the Keyword Search, you will see the exact query you entered followed by "in Keyword", e.g. apple in Keyword.

Author Search

If you used the Author Search, you will see the exact query you entered followed by "in Author", e.g. olive in Author.

Title Search

If you used the Title Search, you will see the exact query you entered followed by "in Title", e.g. brownie in Title.

Publisher Search

If you used the Publisher Search, you will see the exact query you entered followed by "in Publisher", e.g. harper in Publisher.

Combined Search

If you used the multiple fields in your search, you'll see your exact query terms followed by "in [Keyword/Author/Title/Publisher]", e.g. wine in Keyword AND bread in Keyword AND meat in Keyword. If a year or year range is selected as a filter, that information will also show in the query feedback, e.g. wine in Keyword AND bread in Keyword AND meat in Keyword AND 1875–1879 in Year Range.

My Selections

An "[Add to My Selections]" link is available on each search result to add any item from a search result to your My Selections list for emailing. These selections will remain for the length of your session on the site and will be removed when you quit your browser application. To remove an item from My Selections, enter My Selections (via the main navigation or the search results feedback links) and click the "Remove from My Selections" on that item.

View Options

All displays contain bibliographic information. This includes: title, author, contributor (if available), publication year, source (publication information), genre, subject (if available), and a link to bookmark the item. Use the "[Show Document Information]" link to expand this information for viewing.

Text Mode

Text Mode will show sections of the full text of a monograph that is part of the Victorian Women Writers Project collection based on the sections identified in the Table of Contents. All pages images within a section of text can be accessed by using the "View Page XX" link next to the page number. Page images will open on top of the text and can be moved around and closed individually. You can also switch to Image Mode from the pop-up page image view. Use the page–turning controls at the top of the text to move to the next section of text or use the Table of Contents to bring up a different section of the volume.

Alongside the "[Add to My Selections]" link, you can also print the current view of the text using the "[Print]" link. This print feature works similarly to printing the current browser page, but will be formatted to print only the content of the item being presently viewed in the browser. The Table of Contents, banner, navigation, footer, and search form on the page are not printed so that the text is easier to read and uses less paper when printing.

Image Mode

Image Mode shows each page image of the current monograph selected. Use the page–turning controls above the page image to move to the next page image or select from the Table of Contents to jump to a different page image within the volume. Image Mode is not available for all texts within VWWP - page image scans were not preserved for texts from the original digitization project.

Entire Document

Monographs can be viewed in a printer–friendly version without the banner and navigation. From this view, the text can either be printed or, if available, downloaded in PDF format from the print dialog in your browser. Mac OSX provides this functionality in all browsers. If Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed on Windows, Adobe PDF will be a printer option in the browser print dialog.


All monographs can be downloaded in XML format but only monographs with available page image scans can be downloaded as Adobe PDF. Please note that the PDF version file size may be quite large, but this version can be used to select a range of pages for printing. The XML format will provide the original TEI encoding created for these documents.

Terms and phrases can be searched within the context of the Text Mode by using the "Search within this document" form. Search terms are highlighted and can be un-highlighted by clicking the "Clear Hits" link under the "Search within this document" form.

My Selections

My Selections offers a way to gather select search results for emailing. After conducting a search, any search result can be added to My Selections using the "[Add to My Selections]" link with that item. A number will appear in parentheses next to "My Selections" in the search feedback section of the search results showing the total number of items currently in My Selections. When viewing the items in My Selections, items are shown alphabetically by title. Title, author, contributor (if available), publication year, source (publication information), genre, and subject (if available) are listed for each item along with a "Remove from My Selections" link. Click that link to remove an item from your My Selections list.

Email your selections by clicking the "E-mail My Selections" link above the list of items. A new window will open requesting an email address. Enter the email address to which you would like this list of items sent, click "Submit," and you will see the following message: "Your citations have been sent." The window should then close automatically. The email you receive will contain each item from your My Selections list with the author, title, and a permanent link you can use to access the full text online.

Items added to My Selections will remain for the length of your session on the site and will be removed when you quit your browser application.

More Information

If you still have questions or are interested in finding out more information about items contained within this site, you can contact the Indiana University Digital Library Program at