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What is Zero Results Prevention in EBSCOhost and how can I enable it?

If enabled by your administrator in EBSCOhost, Zero Results Prevention runs SmartText Searching against your search terms when your initial keyword or phrase search returns no results.

Unlike a standard keyword search, which searches for your keyword(s) as a phrase in fields such as title, citation, author, etc., SmartText Searching summarizes your search terms and queries all of the main words and phrases against the database. After a relevancy weight is assigned to each word or phrase, a search string is built OR'ing the terms and their weights together. A search is then conducted against the database.

Your result list will notify you that while results were not available for your initial search, results were available from SmartText Searching based on your keywords.


  • Individual users have the ability to turn this feature on or off from the General Settings area of their EBSCOhost Preferences. (Run SmartText Search when query returns no results)
  • When running SmartText Searching automatically, both searches are logged in EBSCOhost statistics and are added to your Search History.
  • All limiters and expanders from the initial search are maintained.
  • This feature is only available for the EBSCOhost interface.
  • SmartText Searching treats all words in your query (i.e. Field Codes, Stop Words, etc.) as text.
  • This feature is available from both the Basic and Advanced search screens in EBSCOhost.


Enabling Zero Results Prevention

Zero Results Prevention is enabled in EBSCOadmin.

To enable Zero Results Prevention:

  1. Log in to EBSCOadmin at

  2. Select the EBSCOhost profile you wish to modify.

  3. From the Customize Services tab, click the Searching sub-tab.

  4. Scroll down to the Run SmartText Search when Query Returns No Results parameter and set to On.

  5. Click Submit. Your changes are saved.

See also:

What is SmartText Searching?