Tips for searching our archives


For the simplest type of search, just use the box labeled Search Terms. Type in words that are likely to appear in the articles you are looking for. Use the most unique words — names, places, etc. — whenever you can. The archive will look for stories containing all the words you enter. There is no need to use commas or and between words. If you want to search for exact phrases or have more control over your search terms, see MORE ADVANCED SEARCHING below.

Date Options

You can restrict the range of dates that will be searched by using Date Options. The archive will search through all available dates unless you change the default setting. There are two ways to restrict the date range:

  • Click on All Dates and select one of the three other options (30 days, 90 days, or 12 months).
  • Select the Dates Between option and use the month, day, and year lists to set a date range (From and To). If you want to search only one day, set From and To for the same date.

Sort Options

Select a Sort Option by clicking the button beside the option you prefer.

By default, your results will be sorted by Date, with the newest stories at the top. An alternative is to sort by Relevancy, with the most relevant articles at the top of the list. The Relevancy option uses a formula that considers, among other things, how many words in each article were also in your search terms, how near the search terms are to the beginning of the article, and whether other similar words are found in the article.


Results are displayed in groups of ten per page. You can move back and forth through groups of ten by clicking on the links at the bottom of each page.

Too many results

If you get as many as 200 results, you may wish to narrow your search or perform a series of related searches.

The maximum number of results that the archive can return for any search is 200, so whenever you get 200 results you may not be seeing all possible matches for your search. Depending on how you have chosen to sort the results, you may get the 200 most recent items (sorted by date) or the 200 most relevant items (sorted by relevancy).

For example, you can try to obtain a shorter, more specific results list by entering additional search terms or using some of the advanced search techniques explained below. If you really need to see all the articles on a broad topic, you can run the search more than once, changing the date range each time. For example, by using the same key words but three different date ranges such as 1990-1994, 1995-1999, and 2000-2003, you could eventually find up to 600 matches for your topic.

Word Count

The word count is listed on the results page to help you identify the items you need. For example, for two related articles in the same week, you can tell whether they are both feature articles (both with high word counts) or whether the first is a feature while the second is only a brief follow up (high word count followed by low word count). The word count is approximate.



Author and Headline

Below the Search Terms box are boxes for Author and Headline. You can use the three boxes alone or in combination.

If you are looking for all the articles by a particular reporter, enter the reporter's name in the Author box and leave the top search box blank. Or if you want to read articles by a specific reporter on a specific topic, use the Author box and then include words about the topic in the Search Terms box as well.

If you know the headline of the article that you are looking for, you can enter the headline in the Headline box. Or use Search Terms to define a general topic, then add other key words or phrases in the Headline box to make sure you only get articles that really focus on one aspect of that topic.

When using Headlines for searching, just remember that for days when the Dayton Daily News published different county editions, the headline you saw may not be the same as the headline in the archive. (The most complete version of an article is archived.)

Exact phrases

You can search for an exact phrase by putting a group of words in quotation marks.

Sometimes, you may want to find stories containing a specific sequence of words, for example, "great TV auction" or "Greene County commissioners." If you put a phrase in quotes, you will get only those stories where the exact phrase appears. You can search for phrases and individual words at the same time by not using quotes around the individual words, for example, "Fifth Third", dragons.

Words near each other

You can search for words near each other by using pre/# or near# (enter a number in place of #, for example pre/4 or near6).

In some cases searching for an exact phrase is too restrictive and can make your results incomplete. For example, if you search for "Jane Smith" and she is sometimes referred to as Jane B. Smith, you will not find all the articles about her.

Use pre/# if the words need to be in a specific order. Type in the first word, followed by pre/# (enter a number instead of #), followed by the second word. You can use any number following pre/, for example, Jane pre/3 Smith. This search looks for Jane within 3 words before Smith, and so it would find Jane B. Smith as well as Jane Smith. Or if you are looking for articles about the Third Street exit and you are not sure whether street will be abbreviated or spelled out, you would enter Williams pre/2 exit to find any articles where the word Williams appears within two words before exit, so it will find Williams Street exit as well as Williams St. exit.

Use near# if the order of the words does not matter. Sometimes you may not be able to predict the order in which the words appear -- you want them near each other, but it does not matter which comes first. Enter a number instead of #, for example: accidents near5 intersections finds articles where these two words appear within five words of each other, but it does not matter which word comes first. If you use near without putting a number on the end -- for example, parks near homeless -- it will look for all articles where the two words are within 10 words of each other.

Other special searches

You can control how the search process uses your keywords by linking them with not or or.

Use not to exclude words from your search results. For example, if you want articles about collectible dragons you might want to exclude articles about the Dayton Dragons by entering dragons not baseball. Use not thoughtfully -- there is a chance you will exclude an article you are looking for, since it is hard to anticipate all the words that might appear in a story.

Use or if you do not have to have all the terms together in a single article. For example, this can be useful in the case of a company that has changed its name, such as Mead or MeadWestvaco. Using or will often bring back large numbers of stories so use it carefully.