Advanced Search

The Advanced Search functionality is very much aimed at those wishing to refine their search results in a much more precise manner, using a code based search command typed into the search box on the ArenaPAL site.

This is an extremely powerful way to search with direct access to individual metadata fields and multiple search operators. Search operators and fields can be combined in a single command.

Available Metadata Fields

The available metadata fields are shown when previewing an image.

The name of the field should be typed in as it is spelt on the preview screen.

Field names and search terms are NOT case sensitive so capital letters can be ignored. This allows for faster entry of search commands.

In its simplest form the search command would be:

@{metadata field}:{search term}//

So a simple search for the name ‘Domingo’ in the metadata field ‘Caption’ would be entered as:


This would return all assets with the name ‘Domingo’ in the ‘Caption’ metadata field.

The advanced search command should be entered with an at sign (@) preceding the field name, followed by a colon (:) after the field name, followed by the search term and any operators, followed by 2 forward slashes (/) to signify the end of the search term for that field.

The forward slash (/) terminators allows spaces and phrases to be used within the search.

All code as it should be entered will be presented in a monospace font with braces {} surrounding placeholder text.

N.B – the braces are not to be entered into the search box itself.

How to Combine Commands

To build on the simple command above, metadata searches can be combined into a single command.

So to find all assets with ‘Domingo’ in the ‘Caption’ field, and ‘Barda’ in the ‘credit’ field, one would construct the search term:

@caption:domingo// @credit:barda//

This would return all assets with ‘barda’ in the ‘credit’ field and ‘domingo’ in the ‘caption’ field, significantly refining the original search.

Search Modifiers

There are several ways to modify and improve searches within specific metadata fields. These are AND, OR, NOT, MAYBE, phrase searches, and strict order searches. Search operators (AND, OR, NOT, MAYBE) must be in uppercase, and can have single character alternatives to speed entry.

N.B. Search modifiers can be used in a regular, quick search too.

The ‘AND’ Modifier

The ‘AND’ operator is the default when no search modifier is specified. Alternatives are space (‘ ‘) and plus (+). Therefore the search command:

@caption:domingo AND otello//

is exactly the same as

@caption:domingo otello//


@caption:domingo + otello//

This will return all assets that contain both ‘domingo’ and ‘otello’.

The ‘OR’ Operator

The ‘OR’ operator must be uppercase, and the pipe (|) character can be used as an alternative. The ‘OR’ operator will return any assets that contain either or both of the search terms, so…

@caption:domingo OR otello//

which is the same as

@caption:domingo | otello//

…will return all assets that contain ‘domingo’, all that contain ‘otello’
as well as those that contain both ‘Domingo’ and ‘Otello’.

The ‘NOT’ Operator

The ‘NOT’ operator will exclude the term after the ‘NOT’ from the search.

Alternatively, the exclamation mark (!) or a minus (-) can be used.

Therefore, the search command:

@caption:domingo NOT otello//


@caption:domingo !otello//



will return only those assets that contain ‘Domingo’ but not those that contain ‘Domingo’ AND ‘Otello’.

The Phrase Search (“”)

The phrase search is used to search for exact expressions by wrapping the search term in quote marks (“”).

Therefore the search command:

@caption:“domingo and otello”//

will return only those assets that contain the exact phrase ‘Domingo and Otello’ in the text.

Strict Order Searching (<<)

Strict order searching returns assets where the search terms appear in the order they are entered into the search command.

Therefore, the command:

@caption:domingo << otello//

will return only those assets where ‘Domingo’ comes before ‘Otello’. For example, it will return ‘Placido Domingo and Otello’, but not ‘Placido Otello and Domingo’.


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