The Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online has been designed to be easy to use, while dramatically expanding the ways in which you can access its wealth of information?ways that simply are not possible in a printed version. This page will provide a quick overview of some of the Gazetteer?s features.  For more detailed explanations and help, see the specific help section by clicking on an option in the left-hand sidebar.  For general tips on maximizing your use of the Gazetteer, see either Search Tips or Using the Gazetteer

Finding Gazetteer Articles:

There are three primary ways of finding articles in the Gazetteer database:

              Quick Search

On nearly every page of the Gazetteer site, there is a Quick Search option near the top of the page.  Quick Search allows you to search either just place-name entry headings or the full-text of Gazetteer articles.  The default search is a place-name search: simply enter all or part of a name and click ?Go? or use your ?enter? key.  Because place-name spellings can vary, you may have to try different spellings to locate the place you are looking for.  To search the text of all entries, type your search terms in the Quick Search input box, then click on the ?full text? button, and then the ?Go? buttons.  The full text option will search for occurrences of all of the terms entered, so you may want to try different combinations of terms to achieve the best results. See Search Tips or Using the Gazetteer for suggestions on making your use of the Gazetteer faster and more efficient.

             Advanced Search

 Click on the ?Search? button on the far left side of the black-banded navigation bar to access the Advanced Search page.  Advanced Search offers powerful tools to locate very specific lists of Gazetteer entries using a variety of ?metadata? information about those places.  This includes combining place-name and full text searches with metadata searches.  You can search entries by their ?type of place,? which is a descriptive designation of a place made by our editorial board and editing staff.  These designations can be simple as in ?city,? ?town,? ?mountain,? ?river,? etc. or more refined, as in ?zone,? ?fort,? ?airport,? ?oil field,? etc.  You can also search entries by continent, sub-continent, country, administrative division within a country, or by metric criteria about a place (elevation, area, length, population, etc.). Finally, you can search for places within a range of geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude).


The Browse page is found by clicking on the ?Browse? button on the left side of the black-banded navigation bar near the top of the page.  The Browse feature allows you to navigate through the complete A to Z list of Gazetteer articles or jump to a particular letter group or to articles that begin with specific letters.

Search Results:

The Search Results page shows the entries that match your search terms or criteria, depending on what type of search you performed.  The terms you used in your search are shown on the left-hand sidebar for your reference; clicking on either of the ?edit? buttons on the sidebar takes you to the Advanced Search page with your terms already populated so you can easily modify your search.

Clicking on the place-name will take you to the article display.

The main search results always show the Place-name, Type of Place, Country, and Region (top-level administrative division).  If you have chosen metric criteria for your search (population, elevation, area, etc.), columns for those options will also be displayed.  You can ?re-sort? the search results by clicking on the column heading (in green letters). The default sort is by Name (ascending).  Clicking on a heading will resort the entire results list by the contents of that column (alphabetical or numeric); clicking on the heading twice will reverse the sort order.

For large sets of results, the Gazetteer will ?page? the results, showing 100 entries per page.

We also offer a number of options for your results other than reading the articles.  You are able to print or email the results list, as well as download the results and any metadata you have selected in your search either in a spreadsheet format (such as Excel) or in GML (an XML-tagged file using the Geographic Markup Language standard). See the Search Results help section for more details on these features.


            The ?Go? Button

On search pages, clicking on the ?Go? button starts the search.  You can also hit the "enter" key on the keyboard to start a search.

            The Breadcrumb Trail

When navigating through a number of entries within the Gazetteer, you will see near the top of the entry display a linked list of pages you have recently viewed. You can use this ?breadcrumb? trail to return to any of those previous pages.  Note that the breadcrumb trail feature only shows the last 4 entries viewed

            The ?Previous Entry? and ?Next Entry? Buttons

On left-hand sidebar of the Gazetteer Entry pages, you may see options to view the ?previous entry? and ?next entry.?  You can use these buttons to ?page? through the results of the last search performed.  These options will disappear once you navigate away to a different entry, such as cross reference.

            Entry Display ?Table of Contents?

On the left-hand sidebar of the Gazetteer Entry pages, you will see the place-name title of the entry as well as a list of entry subheadings, if available.  You can use these links to ?jump? to specific sections, particularly of longer entries.


Many Gazetteer entries contain place-names that are usually (depending on your browser settings) highlighted in blue.  Clicking on these hyperlinks takes you directly to the entries for those places.  Some entries will also contain cross-references to Glossary terms in our Glossary section. Finally, there are entries that are alternate names or spellings of places that will contain only a cross-reference hyperlink.