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When answering to another question on this site related to A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R. Martin, another user pointed out a site where it is possible to perform searches on the full texts of the published works by that author, namely A Search of Ice and Fire.

I was wondering if there is a similar tool for the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, where one can search his whole corpus of published works for a given term.

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    Personally, I'd suggest acquiring his works in epub format, loading them into Calibre library manager and using the Quality Check Plugin to search the entire library.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 15:29
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    Seconded. That's how I do it. Simple and free. For statistics, there is lotrproject.com/statistics/books
    – Daniel B
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 15:41
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    Thank you; the usefulness of an online search tool, anyway, is that one can look for references even on those books that he doesn't own.
    – Sekhemty
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 15:54
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    To be crystalline clear: I am not interested in illegal ways to acquire ebook versions of Tolkien texts! I was only interested if there was a tool like the one available for ASOIAF also for Tolkien works, just for the purpose of a quick reference! I already own my copies of those books!
    – Sekhemty
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 16:05
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    That's on-topic here help center background information or something is there. Edit: Behind-the-scenes and fandom information I'd call this "fandom information". Also are you certain it's on-topic there?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 20:10

3 Answers 3

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The closest thing I can think of is The Tolkien Text Anthology.

It is an offline resource, but it has all of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (including some of the rarer ones like Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon) in a single interface designed for searching.

screenshot of the user interface of the Tolkien Text Anthology, labeled "TTA-Viewer"; the left side has has tree of work groupings, works and chapters, with "A. Middle-Earth Legendarium" -> "The Hobbit" -> "1. An Unexpected Party" expanded and highlighted.  The right pant has page 22 of "The Hobbit" displayed and the word "Confusticate" highlighted in the text.
Overlaid is a "Find" dialog running a search for "confusticate" and showing a list of all the matches with the first one (the aforementioned page of "The Hobbit" selected.

I doubt it's any more legal than A Search of Ice and Fire though.

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  • This does not seem to be available anywhere.
    – Jonathon
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 13:29
  • @Jonathon - It is an offline resource and very unofficial.
    – ibid
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 15:23
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Not really

To the best of my knowledge, there is no search-engine like portal for Tolkien's published works. There have been many efforts to digitize some of the more popular ones (you can purchase e-books, of course, and the Internet Archive has a few in text-searchable form1), which would allow you to assemble one for yourself (Valorum's suggestion, in a comment on the question), but there are notable gaps in what's available.

The most notable are writings published in issues of Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon, special interest newsletters published by the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship fan group. Both publications have received permission from Christopher Tolkien to publish essays (primarily language-related), but few exist in digitized form. It's this kind of limitation that dooms any attempt to create a "complete" Tolkien search engine: so many of his writings came into existence long before digitization was a thing, and weren't commercial enough to convert.

In theory there's nothing stopping someone from setting up an "incomplete" search engine (aside from the usual legal questions), just focused on the most "narrative" books, but to my knowledge nobody has done it; if they have, it certainly isn't prominent.

While not remotely what you're looking for, an interesting quasi-example is the Eldamo lexicon, which is a reasonably-complete online dictionary of Tolkien's invented languages drawing from most of Tolkien's published word-lists.


1 I'm unclear on the legal implications of this, which is why I'm not posting links

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    And given the Tolkien Foundation's usual approach to the "the usual legal questions", there isn't going to be one. Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 15:58
  • So something like asearchoficeandfire.com would get shut down I guess?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 16:02
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    @MattGutting I'm actually surprised the Game of Thrones one exists; I'd expect it to get sued into oblivion too, but apparently not Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 16:02
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    I'm sure there's something illegally (by most countries' takes) digitized somewhere.
    – user40790
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 18:31
  • If there are gaps in Tolkien's texts being illegally available online, I have yet to see it.
    – ibid
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 19:57
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Search engine, no... But there is a concordance, which is almost as good? But it might just be for ''The Hobbit''?

an alphabetical index of the principal words in a book or the works of an author with their immediate contexts

https://wordsthatyouweresaying.blog/concordance/

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  • This seems to be just The Hobbit though?
    – ibid
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 3:47
  • @ibid - Oh, I wasn't sure if it was covering just one book or not.
    – Malady
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 3:51

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