Search Tips

The following information is provided to ease the process of searching the CompPile database.

Coverage: Until January 2007, CompPile's coverage began with 1939 and ended with 1999.  For those years, coverage is comprehensive and systematic, and currently includes 85,129 records (March 2008).  Beginning January 2007, we began extending coverage beyond 1999, adhering to the same principles that have made CompPile the primary bibliography for our discipline.  As of March 2008, CompPile includes 8821 records from 2000 onward (March 2008).  Glenn and Rich have committed to extending and sustaining CompPile, with the assistance of numerous volunteer "CompPilers."  CompPile will continue to expand, to make CompPile the primary resource for scholarship from 1939 onward. 

(If you do not find publications dated 2000 or beyond, try "rhetoric and composition" as a subject in the Modern Language Assocation International Bibliography. The MLA database now functions as the annual bibliography for the Conference on College Composition and Communication. It is proprietary, and you, your library, or your professional organization must subscribe to it through one of several commercial databases or by joining NCTE.)

Boolean operators: The CompPile search form does not acknowledge Boolean operators within the search fields. Typing Ericsson and Haswell, for example, or Ericsson Haswell in one author field will return an empty set.  To compensate, the interface a set of customizable form fields that can be used to search for author, title, and keywords.

If you are using multiple fields in your search, such as author and title, you have the option of searching for "All Terms" (Boolean AND) or for "Any Terms" (Boolean OR).  The default is "AND" which means that your search for an author and a title will return only records that satisfy conditions in both fields. 

The Boolean NOT is indicated by choosing Is or IS NOT (in the second column).

Text sensitivity: This search engine is not sensitive to case, italics, or spaces. The engine is sensitive to punctuation marks. For example, pre-service will not locate "preservice," preservice will not locate "pre-service." [See Glossary section for explanation of hyphenated keywords and specialized search terms.]

Wilcard symbols are no longer necessary. The "Contains" operator assumes the wildcard before and after the search term.

Author names: Names of authors appear sometimes last name first and sometimes last name last. Entering kinneavy, james will not catch entries where he appears as "James Kinneavy" or "James L. Kinneavy." To be sure you locate all publications by an author, begin by searching for last name only. When results include several authors with same last name, scan the results to determine the exact ways that your author's name is entered. Use those as search terms with the "equals" Boolean operator to locate only publications by that author. Multiple authors are always separated by semi-colons (;). Co-authored pieces can be located by typing in a semi-colon in the Author field.

Journal items: Volumes of journals from 1 through 9 are written 01, 02, etc. Issue numbers do not use the zero. Volume and issue number are separated by a period. E.g., college composition and communication 07.3 in the Journal field will locate all records in Number 3 of Volume 7, and college composition and communication 07 will locate the records in all four issues of Volume 7. Journal titles are NOT abbreviated. For titles used, see Journals. A distinctive part of a title, of course, can be used as a shortcut; e.g., edge in the Journal field will locate entries from the journal Writing on the Edge.

Edited collections: To locate all the contributions in a collection of essays / articles, type distinctive publishing information in the Book field. For example, to locate all contributes to Ericsson's and Haswell's Machine scoring of student essays: Truth or consequences, use the one of the author's last names in the author field or the title in the book field.