Welcome to SPIN WWW! If you have any questions about how to use our system after reading these instructions, please do not hesitate to contact us at office@infoed.org

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Defining a Search - Setting Search Criteria

The search criteria are set by selecting a specific category, and setting a value for the category selected (either by making selections from a list or typing in text). If search criteria are set in multiple categories within a search, a criterion from each category must be satisfied to produce a "hit" from the SPIN database.

The assumption is that each category is linked by the word "AND," while values within each category are linked by the word "OR" (note that the Keyword category provides "AND" logic capability).

Selecting Categories

The SPIN WWW Search screen displays the categories most commonly used to set search criteria. Select a category by clicking on the category name. Or, you can run text searches and Program Number searches using the input categories at the bottom of the screen.

Setting the Value

For most categories included in SPIN WWW, a list of values automatically appears, from which you may make selections. To set a value, highlight the desired item by clicking on the item to be selected; if you are making multiple selections from a list, press the Control key (or Command key on a Mac) while clicking on each item. You may navigate through the list using the arrow buttons.

The Title, Description and Program Number categories do not have an associated list of values. See their descriptions below for information on how to best search using those text-search fields.

The Search Fields

You may define your search criteria in whatever way you see fit. Many users simply do Keyword searches to obtain a broad range of opportunities; others also include the Applicant Types and Award Types to narrow the results; and yet others use as many categories as possible for each search to obtain the most narrow search results.

The following categories may be defined from the Search screen:

Keywords - The most common field on which to search, Keywords are words and terms which are used to describe academic disciplines/areas of interest. The SPIN Keyword Thesaurus (this is actually the NIH-NSF-DOE Thesaurus, version 4.0, modified to include hundreds of terms as added by our Information Specialists on an ongoing basis) consists of over 3,000 Keywords, broken into twelve subject areas. When you click on the Keywords field on the Search screen, these subject areas will be listed. Placing a check next to a major subject heading (in the "All" column) will select all Keywords (or search hierarchically) within that subject area for your search. Or, you can click on the subject heading link to see a list of Keywords in that area, from which you can select specific Keywords for your search. Selecting specific keywords will search on the exact keywords selected (not hierarchically). Once you are finished selecting Keywords, click on "Return to Main Search Page."

If you are uncertain about which major subject heading might contain the Keywords you are looking for, use the box at the bottom of the Keywords screen to enter a word or phrase, and click on "Search for Term." You can then select keywords from the resulting list, or type different text in the box at the bottom of the screen and "Search for Term" again.

You may select as many Keywords as desired, from as many subject areas as desired. All of the Keywords selected on the Keywords screen will be linked by "OR." To combine one or more Keywords using Boolean "AND" logic, select the first Keyword(s), click on "Return to Main Search Page," and then click on "Use Boolean AND Logic" in the Keywords window. Then click on "Anded Keywords." This will bring you to a new Keywords collection page where, again, you can make one or multiple selections.

Applicant Types - Describe eligibility. Select all values which describe both the individual and the institution applying for the award. To obtain maximum results, choose both specific and broad values.

Award Types - Select the values which most accurately describe the type of funding desired, i.e., research project, fellowship support, seed money, etc. To obtain maximum results, select all values for which you would accept funding.

Sponsors - Use this field if you only want to see funding opportunities offered by a certain sponsor(s). If you choose a Federal (government) sponsor which is a "parent" organization to other Federal (government) sponsors, you will get opportunities offered by both the parent organization as well as those underneath it hierarchically. (For example, if you search on National Institutes of Health, you will also get hits from the National Eye Institute, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, etc.)

Sponsor Types - This field allows you to narrow your search by the type of organization administering an award. You can make selections from Federal, State, or Non-Federal as broken down by specific type.

Citizenships - Select the value(s) that describe the individual's citizenship and/or the location of the institution applying for the award. For maximum results, always include "Any/No Restrictions" as one of your value selections. (Please note: The value "Any/No Restrictions" is coded on opportunities for which there are no eligibility restrictions with regard to an applicant's citizenship or the location of the applying institution.)

Geographic Restrictions - Describe award restrictions due to locale. Select the values which describe your area/region, in addition to the value "No Restrictions." (For example, if you are from New York, select No Restrictions, U.S. Northeast, and New York, to obtain programs which meet any of these criteria; if you are from England, select No Restrictions and England.) If no values are selected for this field, then your search results may include opportunities which are specifically only for applicants from other states/provinces/regions of the country. (Please note: The value "No Restrictions" is coded on opportunities that have no specified restrictions with regard to geographic location for users of the database.)

Locations Tenable - Describes where the award may be undertaken. Select the value(s) that describe the location where you wish to carry out your project. For maximum results, include "Any/No Restrictions" as one of your value selections. (Please note: The value "Any/No Restrictions" is coded on opportunities that do not specify where an award must be undertaken.)

Deadline Dates - Use this field to obtain search results narrowed by deadline date, or with continuous (open) application. Selecting Deadline Dates from the Search screen will open a window/table where you can select your condition and then select specific dates. The first row of the table is the default selection, to include "All" deadlines, inclusive of those that are Open (indicated lower in the table). The second row allows you to select a deadline that is Equal To a particular date; clicking on Equals allows you to change the condition to Greater Than or Less Than. (To select a date anywhere in the table, click on the Month, Day, and Year boxes to make a selection from a pop-up list.) Or, you can use the third row of the table to define a Range of deadlines on which to search. If you use the Range condition, the "from" and "to" dates selected will be inclusive. If you opt to "Include Open Dates", in a search with specified deadline date(s), or if you just use the "Open Dates Only" setting, then your search results will contain funding opportunities with continuous application.

Title Contains -This field allows you to enter text to search for a particular funding opportunity by Title. Keep in mind that abbreviations and/or acronyms may have been used in this field, so if you don't find what you are looking for right away, try to think of other options. Numbers may be used. This text-search fields allows use of the following Boolean operators displayed below right after the Description Contains field.

Description Contains - This field allows you to enter text to search the detailed text description of the SPIN funding opportunities - the Objectives and Restrictions. This is most useful if you do not find a Keyword that closely matches what you are looking for, or if you want to search by a particular source/publication number (i.e., NSF 97-29). This text-search field allows use of the following Boolean operators (and their English equivalents):

*wildcard searches

Here are a few examples:
accounting and finance = accounting & finance
accounting or finance or business=accounting|finance|business
accounting &! finance = accounting BUT NOT finance
[tax accounting] = "tax accounting"

Program Number - This is a unique identifier automatically assigned to and associated with each SPIN funding opportunity. If you know the 5-digit SPIN Program Number(s) you are looking for, this field allows you to run a search to find those funding opportunities. Separate each Program Number by a comma (,).

SPIN WWW Function Keys

The following functions may be selected from the SPIN WWW Search screen:

allows you to search the SPIN database in order to obtain funding opportunity information.

deletes all items currently selected and displayed on the Search screen, and allows you to start a new search from scratch.

brings up a screen that lists each of the items currently selected on the Search Screen, and allows you to delete only the desired items (rather than Clear the entire screen and start over).

Running a Search

After defining your search and selecting Run, your search will be executed. When the search is finished, a screen will appear which indicates the number of records selected, and lists the Titles of those records.

At this point, you can...

...print, e-mail, or save the entire Program Number/Title listing using your Browser functions.

...view any record by clicking on its Title. With a record open, you can print, e-mail, or save it using your Browser functions.

...select records individually for your output report, or click on the "Select All" box to select all of the search results. (Clicking on that box again will "deselect" all of the search results.)

Creating a Report

Use the options provided on your screen to view/print your selected hits in one of the following formats: Program format (includes Sponsor information, codes assigned to the program, and full detailed text); Summary format (an abbreviated version; includes Sponsor information and a short (up to six lines) Synopsis of text); Deadline Date format - Range only (places program deadline dates in chronological order, listing only the range of deadline dates which were specified in your search - even if there are additional deadline dates associated with the program); Deadline Date format - All dates (lists all deadline dates associated with the program, not just the ones in the range specified in your search). Or, save to a file your selected hits in any of these formats. (Please Note: These options provide a "run-on" type of report; there are no page breaks between programs.) If you opt to save to a file, you will then have the option of simply creating the new file, or actually opening the new file right from your browser. If you are using Internet Explorer you will be given the options of 'Open it' or 'Save to disk'. If you are using Netscape Navigator your options will be 'Pick App..'(where you choose which application to open the file into, such as a word processor) or 'Save File..' which will allow you save the file to disk.

Using Bookmarks

Do not bookmark or create links to any of the web pages within SPIN WWW. You must enter through the page with the flags every time! If you do not, your search results may not be accurate. You may bookmark the page with the flags or the page that says "SPIN WWW Main Menu" at the top.


'Document Contains No Data'

Searching Always Returns 0 Hits

SPIN WWW Gives An Error Message After Running A Search.

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