Basic Search Tips

These search tips may help you if you are getting no results or if you are getting too many results and are not sure how to adjust your search. Below is an example of a search for the phrase "child abuse" outlining the various search options available.

Example: search for child abuse  

Select a Community or Use Proximity Searching

The option to focus your search using geography is available in both 'Search by Keyword' and 'Explore by Category'.  Be sure to use these options to avoid getting a long list of search results for all of Halton when you are only looking for services in a specific community.

Chose the appropriate community, or part of Halton, from the drop-down options in the 'Select a Community' box.

Review the options available to you by clicking on the drop-down arrow in the box containing the word 'Serving'. 

Chosing the option 'Serving' returns services in your search results that serve the community you choose from either within your community or from outside your community. For example, if there is an organization in Toronto that has a service available to residents of your community it WILL appear in this list.

Chosing the option 'Located in' returns a result list of only those services that are located wihin your community.  'Located in' will generally be a smaller result list the 'Serving'.  For example, if there is an organization in Toronto that has a service available to residents of your community it WILL NOT appear in this list.

Chosing the proximity search options of 'within' either 2km, 5km, 10km, or 25km allows you to search for services that are with a certain distance of the address you enter in the 'Select a Community' box.  Once you chose a proximity delimiter the 'Select a Community' box becomes 'Enter an address' with the same auto-complete function as the Google Maps address box.  Start to key in your address and auto-complete options will pop up to help you to complete the address.

Search by Keyword:

Enter the search terms in the search box and chose the options and limits best suited to what you are trying to achieve.

1. Keyword:

Choosing the keyword option will return any records with the words child AND abuse in any of the indexed fields in the database. The words do not necessarily have to be in the same indexed field. The word child could be in one field and the word abuse in a different field. However, both words must be present somewhere in the indexed fields for that record for it to be included in the results list.

Note that a keyword search will usually result in the largest number of "hits" and thus the largest result set for your search. If your returned list is too long, try narrowing your search by being more specific with your chosen search term or phrase, or limit your search using other options in the Search by Keyword box. 

2. Organization Names(s):

If you are confident that you know the name, or most of the name, of a specific organization you are searching for, this is one of the most accurate ways of returning the record for that organization. If, after entering the organization name, you find no results, try being a bit more general in your search. Using the "child abuse" example, searching for "child abuse" in organization name will return only those records where child AND abuse is contained within the name of the organization itself, for example: LINDSAY AND DISTRICT COUNCIL ON CHILD ABUSE or HALTON REGIONAL POLICE SERVICE, Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit or NIAGARA INTERPROFESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE.

3. Service Categories:

This type of search will return any records with the words child AND abuse in the Service Category field. All the terms entered must be in the field for the record to be returned. Service Category searching is useful when you are interested in returning a list of possible organizations/groups that fit a category of service. For example, entering "child abuse" will return a list of organizations that provide a service related to the category of child abuse as well as providing you with some other services that are closely related.

TIP: Use of Wildcard Asterisks

You can use an asterisk at the end of any search word, so:

  • child* will find child; children; child's; childlike; childish
  • abus* will find abuse; abuser; abused; abusing
  • child* abus* will find any of the combinations outlined above

TIP: Use of Quotation Marks

You can search with terms enclosed in quotation marks, so:

  • child abuse” will result in any records that have both of those exact words adjacent to each other in that order and in the same field.
  • child* abus*” will result in records that have “ child abuse” or “ child abuser” or “ childish abuser” in a single field, in that order, adjacent to each other.

Explore by Category

If you are uncertain how to start you search, or of what search term to use for your search, then the Explore by Category searches is a good place to start and might quickly lead you to the services you are looking for. 

First, the community and serving/located in options in the Search by Keyword box enables you to restrict the results by geography; either by where the service/program is physically located or by the geographic service area specified in the record. It is a good idea, if you are searching for a specific service in a known area, to use these limiting features to narrow your results.

Next, click on the name of a category that generally covers the topic of your search.  A drop-down list of more sub-topics will appear.  Click again on the topic of interest and the search results will appear.  If you do not see the topic you are looking for click the category heading again to close it and try another category until you find your topic.

Browse by Organization

Browsing is not the same as searching.  Browsing is looking through a pre-defined list and is based on specifying either a letter or a number as your criteria.  Browse by Organization allows you to review a list of services based on an alphabetical listing of the top level organization name defined in the record.

Find an Exact Record Number

You can return one specific record in the search results according to its Record Number, that is, the three alpha, four numeric unique identifier assigned to each record. Eg. HAM2233; OAK4489; SIM3212 & so on. If you are searching by record number, all other search criteria should be clear because this search, by definition, can have only one record in the result so no other criteria is applicable. This is only useful if you know the record number for the organization you are searching for.

HIP Provides Training

We are pleased to provide free training sessions throughout Halton that are tailored to your agency's use of the HCSD.

To request individual or group training please contact us at hip@oakville.ca .

Suggest a New Record

Please note that the Halton Community Services Database is a collection of information about human services available to residents of Halton Region. Included are services that provide basic subsistance and survival (food, clothing, shelter) and related support services (emergency assistance, financial assistance, physical and mental health assistance).

Before suggesting a new record please review our Terms of Use policy for a detailed description of the Halton Community Services Database and the range of services that it represents.

To suggest a new record please complete the record suggestion form here. Your suggestion will be reviewed and we will contact you with our decision. Halton Information Providers reserves the right to exclude records from the database.