Life Sciences Data Archive
@ Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas


     + General
Searching the Entire Database
     + Simple Text Search
     + Advanced Text Search

Search Options
     + All Words
     + Exact Phrase
     + Boolean Search

Searching Individual Databases
     + Search
     + Search Within Results
     + Search by Specific Category

The Life Sciences Data Archive (LSDA) is designed with two distinct search approaches. The choice of which to use depends on the desired results and the skill of the user. The most popular type of search is a simultaneous Free Text Search of all the databases that make up the LSDA (Experiments, Missions, Hardware, Sessions, Data Sets, Documents, Personnel, Photo, and Biospecimens.) This search box is available on the upper left of the home page. If the user is interested only in a specific database, it may be searched individually by two methods.
(1) An advanced free text search option is available on the upper left of the home page. Simply enter your search term(s) and check the database(s) you'd like to search.
(2) Search single, pre-defined categories of information. Choose Search Database, then choose one of the eight databases on the top row of buttons. The information in each database is subdivided into two or more categories that can be searched independently or in combination. The search result is a list of items that meet the specific criteria. It is both fun and educational to use.

Simple Text Search
The LSDA Homepage has an easy to use search box that accepts single text words and searches for it. A text search of this type typically returns the largest search result, although the more advanced user can refine a search using the more advanced search option. The search result is a comprehensive list of search criteria found in the entire LSDA.
Advanced Text Search
The advanced option on the LSDA homepage allows the user to refine a search using Boolean operators. Search

Search using all of the words: this will search the text to return results containing at least one occurrence of each single keyword or phrase entered. For example, a search of the Experiment database for the words "Bone loss" will return a list of every experiment that contains the words bone, loss, or bone loss anywhere in the text. Word fragments cannot be used in the search. For instance, "pulmo" will return NO search results, but "pulmonary" will. The search is not case sensitive.

This search method looks for the exact phrase typed into the search box. It is not necessary to add quotes. Each found item will contain at least one occurrence of the exact string of words entered in the exact order they were entered, EXCEPT in some cases common words like a, and, the, etc. Word fragments do work in this search. For instance, "pulmo" will return the same search result as "pulmonary". This search is not case sensitive and it is not affected by punctuation.

Advanced searchers with specific information needs use (or) and (not) specifiers, both called Boolean search techniques. This type of search supports the standard Boolean operators and syntax: AND (and, &); OR (or, |); NOT (and not, &!); and related precedence operators such as parentheses (()), quotation marks (""), etc. A Boolean search is not case sensitive.

The operator AND narrows a search by combining terms and retrieves hardware records that contain both of the words specified. It is the same as the "search using all the words option".


The Venn diagram above illustrates the AND search. The left circle includes all records including Bone. The right circle includes all records including the word DEXA. When the computer searches the database and retrieves every record containing both of the words Bone and DEXA, only the records from the intersecting, shaded area will be retrieved.

* OR
The OR operator broadens or widens a search to include hardware records containing either keyword. The OR search is particularly useful when there are several common synonyms for a concept or variant spellings of a word. To find information on the topic of ergometry use:


As the diagram shows, the computer searches for all documents containing Bicycle (left circle) and all documents containing Ergometer (right circle). All documents represented by both circles will be retrieved. OR searches often produce a large number of results.

Combining search terms with the NOT operator narrows a search by excluding unwanted terms. To find information on exercise but not treadmill use:


The diagram illustrates the search by retrieving records including the keyword Exercise (left circle) and excluding records with the term Treadmill (right circle). Retrieved records are shown in the shaded area. Boolean search terms may be combined in various ways to carefully refine searches. Examples: temperature AND sensor NOT thermistor (plant OR animal) AND water

A search may be performed for any combination of words or numbers except for those in the exception list provided below. Note that it is not possible to perform a search using single numeric digits. Items in the exception list are ignored during a search; they are treated as placeholders in Exact Phrase searches.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 $
about after all also an and another any are as at
be because been before being between both but by came can
come could did do each for from get got has had
he have her here him himself his how if in into
is it like make many me might more most much must
my never now of on only or other our out over
said same see should since some still such take than that
the their them then there these they this those through to
too under up very was way we well were what where
which while who with would you your

Avoid using punctuation marks and specially treated characters when building search words. Examples include the ampersand (&), broken vertical bar (|), caret (^), number (#), commercial "at" symbol (@), dollar ($), left parentheses ((), right parentheses ()), period (.), colon (:), semicolon (;), and comma (,).


Each of the individual databases that make up the LSDA has two search features. The Search Option is a free text search where you type the search terms (phrase, keywords, text fragment, etc.) into the text box, and select the + Search Option from the pop-up menu: All Words, Exact Phrase, or Boolean Search. Once the initial search has produced results, it is possible to further refine the search using the Search within Results option.


Search within Results provides a simple way to further refine an existing search result. On the first search enter a fairly simple query term, for example, water, plant, animal, or microgravity. When results are returned, the default query option will be to Search within Results. Enter a keyword into the text box to further define the specifics of what you are looking for. Repeat the process as many times as needed until the desired result set is returned.

When performing a Search within Results refinement search, it is not possible to change the + Search Option after the first search. For example, if the initial search search uses the All Words search criteria, then each successive refinement must also use the All Words search criteria.


Users can search on specific pre-defined categories of information once inside any of the nine databases that collectively make up the LSDA. Each database contains two or more categories with pull-down scrollable lists that can be searched independently or in combination. The search result is a list of items that meet the specific criteria. Make a selection from one or more of the predefined lists, and click any "GO" button.

Specific Category

Last Updated: 03/20/2017 - v10.0.68
Curators:  Abul A. Chowdhury
NASA Official:  Kenneth C. Jenks
Baselined: 7/15/2004
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