Statistical Universe Quick Look: How to Search

Statistical Universe ( is a unique bibliographic tool that indexes statistics published by the U.S. Government, state governments, international and intergovernmental agencies as well many statistics that are privately published. The indexing is at the level of the table. For approximately 15% of the U.S. Government publications, including all tables in the Statistical Abstract, the full text of the table is included. Some of the full text files are also available as XLS or CSV files. XLS files can be imported directly into Excel. The CSV (comma separated variable) format can be imported into Excel with format modifications. CSV files can be read by other software packages, such as SPSS.

The Statistical Sources box is the main entry into searching. Subject or Comparative searching provide the broadest access to the database. Making use of Boolean logic, proximity indicators and truncation symbols increases the power of the search.

Examples of Boolean Logic


crime and michigan

finds both words in the same document


doctor or physician

finds either word in a document

and not

juveniles and not crime

finds the first word without the second



finds documents with at least five uses of budget

Examples of Proximity Indicators

phrase searching

buying power

finds both words together and in order


economic w/3 indicators

finds both words within 3 words of each other


gdp and health care

retrieves words in the same paragraph


gdp and health care

retrieves words in the same sentence


lagging pre/2 indicators

retrieves the second word preceded by the first with no more than two words between

not w/n

cpi not/w10 adjusted

finds documents with the words more than 10 words apart

not w/s

ancestry not w/s race

retrieves words not in the same sentence

not w/p

buying power not w/p taxes

retrieves only if words are not in the same paragraph

not pre/n

university not pre/2 michigan

retrieves if the second word is not preceded within 2 words by the first word

Examples of Truncation Symbols

* (replaces one character anywhere)


retrieves woman or women

! (replaces one or more characters at the end of a word)


retrieves child or children or childhood



Because any abstract may cover a number of different statistical tables, it is best to begin a search by specifying words close together, (e.g. GDP w/10 health care).

Search the phrase selected years to find historical data (e.g. GDP w/p selected years)

Keyword searching can also be used to designate frequency (e.g. GDP w/10 quarterly) or specificity in classification systems (e.g. production and SIC and (three-digit or 3-digit))

Full-text, csv, and xls can be used as search terms (e.g. gdp and full-text)

Comparative terms can be used as a search even if the category is not one from the comparative search (e.g. income and zip code)

For more information consult the extensive help available with Statistical Universe or the Guide prepared by Grace York ( ). This Quick Look is adapted from that Guide.


rev. 3-25-99


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