Ontario Environmental Directory
Search Tips
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Directory, OEN homepage or Advanced Search Form.

Browsing Basics

If you don't want to search – or if your search isn't displaying the desired results – you can always browse through the listings directly. Just click on Browse or search the directory on the Welcome Page (or follow this link).

Fifty records will be displayed at a time. To see the next fifty, click Next (at the bottom of the results page). To return to the previous page, click Previous or your browser's Back button (this will be faster).

To view a listing, just click on the organization name. This will take you to the "detail page", which displays a description, contact information, an e-mail address and website link (if available).

Keyword Search

The easiest way to search is to go to List View; type in a single word or phrase; and click Search. If you don't find what you're seeking, try again with a different spelling or synonym.

All relevant fields are will be searched, including organization name, acronym, contact surname, city, region, area code, website URL, issues and description.

For example, to search for organizations related to bicycling, you could search for bicycle, then do another search for bicycling. Enter only one search term at a time and click Search. Or, you could search for cycl. This would display all listings containing bicycle, bicycling, cycle or cycling – but it would also display those containing the words recycle, cyclical, etc.

You can also search for multiple keywords at once, separated by commas. For example, try searching for: food, garden, agric. Another example: air, smog, climate.

Members, Subscribers, Non-members

The Directory includes OEN Members, Subscribers and Non-members. By default, all are displayed. Use the following links to search for just OEN Members, Subscribers or Both. You can also use the Advanced Search Form for this purpose, or the OEN Members & Subscribers link on the Welcome page. Click here for more information on OEN membership.

Advanced Search Form

To do a simple search, type what you're looking for in one field only. Then click Search at the bottom of the Search Form. A maximum of fifty listings will be shown, per page. To see the next page (if any), just click Next at the bottom of the results page.

If you don't see what you're looking for on the results page, click your browser's Back button. At the bottom of the Search Form, click Clear Form. Now try an alternate spelling, synonym, shorter keyword, etc. Then click "Search" again. Repeat this process until you find what you're seeking.

Keep your search as short and simple as possible. It's simplest and surest just to search using one field at a time. If you get too many results, you can always click Back and specify additional criteria. In most cases, the more complex your search, the fewer results you will get.

Repeat searches: if you clicked Back to return to the search form, be sure to click Clear Form to clear away the previous specification. Forgetting to do this can cause your search to return few or no results.

Organization Name. For best results, eliminate unnecessary or redundant words at the beginning or end of the organization's name. For example, let's say we're searching for a group called "Toronto Environmental Alliance". But we're not sure whether it should be "Environment" or "Environmental". Maybe we're even not sure how to spell "Alliance", or maybe it's misspelled in the database. Solution: search for "Toronto Env" (without the quotes). This will display all organizations that have "Toronto Env" anywhere within the organization name (or acronym). This might result in several organizations being displayed... just click on the one you want from the list.

Keyword or phrase. For example, if you search the Keyword for "food" (no quotes), the results will display all listings that contain the word (or word portion) "food" in the Organization name, Acronym, City, Issues or Description field. Again, keep it short & simple. If you're searching for "organic food", it might be better to just search for "organic" to be sure you get all the results you want (i.e. they may be phrased differently). Also, try searching for synonyms and alternative phrasings (each as a separate search – use the "Back" button on your browser, then click "Reset Form"). For example "sustainable agric", "gardening", "veget" (which would match "vegetable", "vegetarian", etc.). Note that you can only search for one keyword or phrase at a time. For example, don't search for "air water" – there are not likely to be any listings with the word "air" immediately followed by the word "water". Rather, do a separate search for each word.

Location can be tricky, because the field you're searching for may not always be filled in (or it could contain a typo). The City / Town field could vary: for example. an organization in Scarborough could be listed as "Scarborough" or "Toronto". To avoid missing some listings, you can search several or all of the location fields at once (this is the one exception to the "keep it simple" rule). For example, if you want to be sure to see all Toronto listings, search for City "Toronto" and Area Code "416 & 647". If you want to see all Toronto-area listings, also specify Region of Ontario as "Toronto" (this region includes everything from Mississauga to Oshawa and north to Caledon, Newmarket and Uxbridge). Or you could type toronto, etobicoke, scarborough, north york into the City/Town field, separated by commas (see Multiple Values under Advanced Tips, below).

Postal Code. This is an alternative way to search by location. For example, you could specify the first one, two or three characters of the postal code to find listings in the desired area. First letter of postal code: K = "Eastern Ontario"; L = "Central Ontario"; M = Toronto; N = "Southwestern Ontario"; P = "Northern Ontario". Note that these regions are as defined by Canada post, and will not exactly agree with the "Region of Ontario" field as defined by the OEN. Listings where the postal code is blank can be found by searching for "(blank)" (no quotes) in the Postal Code field.

More Advanced Tips

Create a bookmark or link. You can create a bookmark to the search results page. Also, if you have a website, you can link to organizations that share your interests (and/or organizations in your city, town or region). Not only does this help your cause, it can increase traffic to your site. To create either a bookmark or a link, simply use the link search form. Try several searches until you get the results you want, then create a link to the results page. (You will see a a rather long URL at the top of your browser – this is the one to use).

Exact matches only. If you are searching by City/Town or Organization Name, you may get some irrelevant results (in addition to the desired ones). For example, if you search for "Milton", you will also get "Hamilton". To prevent this from happening, check the corresponding "exact matches only" box.

Multiple values. In the City and Keyword fields, it is possible to search for multiple distinct items at the same time. For example, you could search for organizations listed as "Waterloo" as well as those listed as "Kitchener". To do so, simply enter the values separated by commas: waterloo, kitchener. The Keywords field operates in the same manner. Try searching for: food, agric or smog, climate, air.

Blank values. It is possible to search for listings that have blank (i.e. 'not specified') values. To search for a blank City or Postal Code, simply type (blank), including the brackets, into the search field. For the Region, Area Code or Issue fields, (blank) is one of the choices in the dropdown (at the bottom of the dropdown list).

Wildcards. The underscore (_) is a "wildcard" character that can be used to represent one unknown character. Also, the percent sign (%) can be used to represent zero or more unknown characters or words within a search criteria. For example, searching for keyword/phrase "labo%r" will find listings containing "labor" as well as those that contain the alternative spelling "labour". However, using wildcards can also result in unexpected items being included in the search results. In the above example, any listings containing the word "collaborative" or even "laboratory" would also be returned, because these words also contain the characters "labo" followed by a later "r". Note: the search form automatically adds wildcards at the beginning and end of most search fields (exceptions: Postal Code and Given Name fields, where wildcards are implicit only at the end of the field).


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