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Early English Books Online (EEBO): Search

Basic Search Tips

Your terms entered into EEBO will be searched in all fields including historical and linguistic variants. Multiple terms within search boxes are treated as a phrase, unless separated with a Boolean AND, OR or proximity operator.

1. Variant Spellings and Variant Forms

EEBO will automatically retrieve all spelling variants for all the word(s) you have entered; if you do not wish to include variant spellings in your search results, simply untick the Search using variant spellings check box. If you wish to include only certain variants, entering a word in the relevant search field and clicking the Check for variants link will take you to a page where you can specify more precisely the particular variants you wish to retrieve.

3. Search Fields


Enter the word or words you wish to search for into the Keyword(s) box; your terms will be searched in all fields.

Limit to

All items: all records available in EEBO will be searched. The total number of records is indicated in parentheses.

Items with images: searches for your term(s) within records only for items that have document images available to be read on screen or downloaded in PDF format. The total number of items that have had images scanned to date is indicated in parentheses. New images are added to EEBO on a regular basis.

Author Keywords

Search for keywords that appear in the author field. In addition to author names this can include occupation, title, etc. Use the Select from a list link to browse the author index and select appropriate terms.

Title Keywords

Search for keywords that appear in the title field. Use the Select from a list link to browse the title index and select appropriate terms.

Subject Keywords

Search for keywords that appear in the subject field. Use the Select from a list link to browse the subject index and select appropriate term

Limit by Date

Narrow your search by date in two ways. Search on a range of years or search within a single year by entering the same year in both date boxes.

Note: Offical dates of coverage in EEBO are 1473 - 1700. However, there are a few hundred items printed after 1700. Most of these are later reproductions or reprints of originals.

4. Sort Results and Display (Organize Your search results)

You can choose the order of your results will display: Alphabetically by author, Earliest publication first, Latest publication first, or Alphabetically by title. 

5. Durable URL

Click to create a durable URL that you can copy and use later to revisit this same page and user as a short-cut. Access to the durable URL is based on authentication into your organization's EEBO account.

Basic Search


Sample Basic Searches

The examples below illustrate the kinds of searches you can build using operators and fields.  Try them out in EEBO!


1) Find the Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer.

  • Type Canterbury tales in the Keyword box.
  • Type Chaucer in the Author Keyword box (or use the Select from a List link).
  • Click Search.

2) Find works about herbal remedies.

  • Type herb* and remed* in the Keyword box.
  • Use truncation to find herb, herbs, herbal, herbalist, etc.
  • Click Search.

3) Find various Subject Keywords relating to the Brain.

  • Click on Select from a List next to the Subject Keyword box.
  • Type brain and click Look For.
  • Click on Brain--Anatomy--Early works to 1800. Then click OK.
  • Click Search.
  • View the Illustrations within your results list to see early medical diagrams.