National Service Center for Environmental Publications

How to Search for Publications Using Metadata Fields Search

The primary purpose of the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) Metadata Fields Search tool is to allow the user to narrow their search using NSCEP document metadata. NSCEP metadata fields contain a limited amount of information that specificity describe the contents of the document. So this is best search if you already know something about the document you are looking for.

If your search criteria are of a more general nature, the NSCEP Simple Search page will be a better tool for you. Pease note that NSCEP document metadata is unique to the NSCEP repository and may differ in both form and content from the metadata listed for the same title on other EPA sites. 

There are 6 NSCEP metadata fields that can be searched independently or in any combination to focus your NSCEP search.  In addition, a Metadata Field Search can be combined with a Full Text Search to further refine your results and to locate terms in the body of a document.

As a first step let's cover the rules that govern a NSCEP Metadata Fields Search:

NSCEP Metadata Field Search Requirements

  •  A Metadata Fields Search must be free of common stop words that are not indexed or searchable in the NSCEP repository. Replace any stop word with an "and" to complete the search entry. 
  • Wildcard character searches are supported in a  Metadata Fields Search.  While very powerful tools they must be used with care to avoid unexpected results and long search times.
  • Two NSCEP metadata fields contain specially formatted data and must be searched accordingly.  The publication number metadata field is formatted so that the EPA publication number is free of any punctuation, special characters and unnecessary prefixes such as EPA. The publication year metadata field is limited to 4 digit numeric information.

Let's do a NSCEP Metadata Fields Search

  1. Enter your search terms: Keeping in mind the search requirements listed above, enter your search terms into the corresponding search box for EPA Publication Number, Title, Publication Year, Author, Publisher, and Subject.   The entry in each search box is limited to that field.  After entering your search terms, select the check box to the right for each metadata field.  Unselected search entries will not be part of your search even if there is an entry in the search box. Selected entries with empty search boxes will return a search error.
  2. Select your search options: Selected Fields can be combined using either AND or OR terms.  Use the selection box below the field search entries to choose your method.
  3. Adding full text search terms:  A Metadata Fields Search can be combined with a  Full Text Search by adding terms to the full text query box below the field list.  Please note there is no selection check box for this search field.  Controlling how the metadata fields and full text terms are combined is determined by using the  AND and OR selection box below the full text search box.
  4. Results precision (fuzziness): Allows you to search for variations of a word, including plural forms of nouns and different tenses of verbs. Select up to a four character difference.
  5. Select the dates to search: to limit timeframe of publications.
  6. Click the search button.
  7. Avoiding common pitfalls: Be sure that use of the Metadata Fields Search is the best choice for your query. If you have a publication number or there may be a question of the exact phrasing of a title, it may be best to use the Simple Search or the Advanced Search. Entering extensive data into many fields may result in minimal or no results. First try to search on the fields that are of highest importance with the fewest number of words. If the result list is large, then add words until the list is reduced to a manageable size.

Metadata Added to the National Environmental Publications Internet Site

The National Environmental Publications Internet Site (NEPIS) is the Digital Repository for the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP). EPA has added information about the documents available online in NSCEP. This information – or key fields – is referred to as metadata. The metadata fields are: author, title, publisher, subject, publication number, number of pages and abstract, if available.

Info icon which reveals metadata information icon (white lowercase “i”, on light-blue background)To view metadata information, you must first click on a document link and retrieve a document. Clicking on the additional information icon reveals its metadata. The icon is positioned at the far righthand side of the icon bar collection, which is placed immediately above and below the active document.

Not all of the documents on the NSCEP site have been updated with additional metadata fields. EPA will continue working to improve the metadata of all documents available on NSCEP.

If you have additional suggestions or comments, please use the comments form, or send an email to NSCEP (