Searching in DISCO (Best Practices)

Searching in DISCO is similar to other database tools you may have used in the past, such as Westlaw and/or Lexis Nexis. Like these legal research databases, DISCO uses Boolean search operators. We recommend you use this guide as a resource to reference these operators as well as the different search terms syntax available for use to filter or expand your search results.  In particular, this guide provides three ways to quickly improve your searching in DISCO, along with some useful search terms in the appendix.


By default, DISCO treats any word you put into the search bar as a keyword search term. Search terms can be of words or phrases (when enclosed by quotation marks) located in the body of a document, or within a specific field of information, a document possesses, such as its metadata, work product (i.e. applied tag or redactions) or other attributed characteristics.  It is important to note that search queries that do not specify a field in the search syntax automatically search the following:

  • Document text
  • Document notes
  • Custodians
  • Subject line
  • Author information
  • User defined fields

For more information on searching specific fields, see the DISCO Search Manual.  


DISCO allows the use of Boolean operators to create more complex search strings. The easiest way to conceptualize how Boolean operators expand and contract your search results is to think of them as a Venn diagram where the search terms are the circles, and (1) the areas where the circles overlap represent the documents that have a common search term (using the “and” or “&” Boolean operator), (2) the areas where the circles do not overlap represent the documents that do not share the specified term (the “not” or “%” Boolean operator), and (3) the complete areas of all search term circles combined represent the documents with any one or more of the search terms (the “OR” Boolean operator, or its implied equivalent, a space between the search terms).

Finally, utilize Folder icon located to the left of the search bar. From here, navigate documents within your folder structure by clicking on a folder name. This will add a filter to your search criteria, showing you by default that folder's contents as well as any contents of subfolders within. You may turn off the option to include subfolders by switching the button to NO next to "Include documents in subfolders." This will only show the contents of a particular folder and not its subfolders. Documents can be added or removed from folders using the folder icon on any search query (or selection inside the query) or on individual documents in the review pane under “folder.”


With this conceptual understanding of how search works in DISCO, here are some common search terms available for use in DISCO when looking for documents:

Search Term Example Search Description
Tag tag("Hot") find all documents tagged "Hot"
Email Recipient recipient( Find all emails sent to
DISCO ID id(1234) Find document with the randomly assigned DISCO ID 1234
Ingest Session ID IngestSessionId("IngestSessions/1") Find all documents ingested during ingest session 1
Custodian custodian("Andy Zipper") Find all documents ingested from custodian Andy Zipper
Document Type type(word) Find all word documents
Responsive Tag tag("Responsive") Find all documents tagged "Responsive"
Date date(after 11/01/2010) Find all documents with a sent date (email) or a last modified date (non-emails) after 11/01/2010
Bates number batesnumber(Enron 000367) Find document with the Bates number Enron 000367
Email Subject subject("Re: contract pending") Find all emails with the subject "Re contract pending". Note, when searching documents, the punctuation, such as the colon in the original subject line here, is removed.
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