We've tried to make search easy. It should be familiar to you if you have used Google.
If you need fancier searches, click “Search” without entering search terms and you will see an advanced search page.
Simple searches are simple. Enter some words. (You don't need to use words like “AND" and “OR".)
Places where the words all occur, closest together, will show up at the top of the results.
Places where only one of the words occurs will be towards the bottom of the results.
(If you like the method of sorting results by their path in the document tree, there is an option to “sort by path" at the bottom of the search results list.)
If you wish to access a specific provision of the statutes or administrative code simply type the citation for the provision. For example: ch. 13 for chapter 13, 13.92 for section 13.92, 13.92 4 b for section 13.92 (4) (b)., Stats., ch. NR 10 for chapter NR 10, NR 10.02 for section NR 10.02, or NR 10.02 1 b for section NR 10.02 (1) (b) of the Administrative Code.
When you see + and - icons on the page, they limit your search by filtering. The plus sign can be used to limit to only a specific kind of data, or minus sign to remove that kind of data from your search. You can combine filters as needed, which ANDs them together: only things that match all filters will display.
To see more filters, you can click “View All Available Filters” in the sidebar on the right hand side of the search results page.
The available filters (sometimes called “facets”) are often different depending on your search.
If your search returns too many hits, you can subtract things from it by adding a minus sign and the word you want to remove.
For example, you search for training license, but there are too many things in the list about dogs. You can then search for training license -dog to limit your search down to things about training licenses that don't mention dogs.
Our search does “stemming", which is a fancy way of saying it knows similar words. If you search for geology it will look for geology first, but also for
geological and geologic.
If you wish to control stemming, use a * at the end of the word. Operate* will find “operated” and “operate” and “operates”, but not “operation”
. Operation* will find “operation” and “operations”, but not “operate”, and so on. ? will stand in for a single character.
The * and ? operators do not work with exact phrase searches.
If simple searches return too many hits or don't find exactly what you're looking for, put an exact phrase in double quotes.
For example, you search for bottling wine looking for restrictions on bottling of wine, but you get a bunch of extra hits about sales of wine by the bottle and so on. If you change your search to “bottling wine", you will limit your search to places that say “bottling wine" first, and then any places that have a word like “bottle" followed by “wine". (See the stemming explanation above.)
You can think of the search as using “OR" by default between words and phrases. If you wish to do advanced Boolean operations, put the words or phrases in quotes and surround your logical groups with parentheses.
For example, “dog" NOT “hunting" AND “felony" will find all things containing “dog" but not “hunting", and also things containing “felony" but not “hunting". For this search, you probably want to use (“dog" NOT “hunting") AND “felony" or (“dog" AND “hunting") NOT “felony", which should both find things containing “dog" and “felony" but not “hunting".