Search Tips


Searching for an exact phrase

  • Use the drop down menu where appropriate.  Typing in more than 4 characters starts the autocomplete feature, for example purkin gives the following list of options.  Terms in the drop-down menu will have synonyms and/or definitions.
    fig 1


AND my terms/OR my terms

  • By default, terms that are entered without quotation marks are joined by an "AND" (e.g., synuclein AND cerebellum), and will require both terms to be present to retrieve a result.
    Image 2

  • You may specify at any time that terms should be joined by an "OR" or an “AND” by clicking on the radio buttons.
    Image 3


Synonyms/No Synonyms

  • Also included by default are any synonyms available in the vocabularieImage 4a

    You may specify that they not be included from the Search button pull-down menu by clicking on the check box next to synonyms, thereby deselecting it.
    Image 4b


Using the Vocabularies

  • If your search terms are in the vocabularies, or auto-completed (requires 4 letters), you may make use of the Search Options by clicking on the arrow next to the folder in the Search Options box.
    Image 5

    Note it may take several expansions of related concepts. Other submenu options can include Parts (ex. Parts of cerebellum) and Subclass (GABAergic neurons are composed of many subclasses ex. Purkinje cells).
  • Image 6

    Clicking on the gray boxes includes other options in the search using the “OR” Boolean command.
    Image 7a

  • Image 7b

    Right click on any term to find out more information or effect the search by using the ‘Make root’ command.
    Image 8



Search for Genes

  • To search for genes, type in “gene:” followed by the gene symbol or gene name.  Example: Gene:5HT2C.
    Image 9

    These synonyms come from NCBI, not NIF and choosing various species from the Preferences pop-up box can control your output.  Mammals are the default, but any other combination of species can be chosen.  Note, you can save your species preferences by logging into NIF using either your Google or Yahoo mail accounts.

  • Choosing all of the possible species, then searching again, increased the synonyms brought back for the search.
    Image 10

Beginning a New Advanced Search

  • Use the Clear button to clear the contents of the previous search prior to beginning a new Search.


Strict Search

  • With the release of NIF 3.6, we have implemented a strict search option. Strict search will focus the search query to columns specifically weighted as more informative. In this way, you are able to remove results that do not necessarily contain the exact term you are searching for. Once you perform a search, to enable to strict search option click the check box shown below. In this example we have searched for schizophrenia. Notice that without the strict search enabled, we receive results that contain closely related, stems of schizophrenia such as "Schizo" in the top results. 

  • Image 11
  • However, once we have enabled the strict search option, the number of results is reduced and more focused, containing activation foci that are specifically related to schizophrenia (shown below). 
  • Image 12


More NIF Help

Frequently Asked Questions about NIF

NIF Statistics

NIF Version: 6.2

Ontology Version: 2.9

Level 2.5/3.0 Resources: 239

Registry Entries: 12,598

Total Records: 829,679,866

NIF Navigator