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Making Your Search More Effective

by

Stan Gelber

The subject of searches seems to come up quite often In my conversations with visitors to Healthlinks.net. Because this is an important way to find information, I thought I would clarify our search methodology. The easiest way to find information about a topic, simply type in a few keywords in the search box. The more detailed your query, the more relevant your results.

Our search engine comes complete with some advanced capabilities to help you find exactly what you're looking for. These capabilities are best shown with a few examples:

Prefacing a search term with a "special" character can greatly help you to narrow your searches. Special characters include +, /, and, -


+internet: Will only display listings that contain the word "internet"

- Forbid this term (-) " -web", Will only display listings that DO NOT contain the word "web"

" " Exactly match this phrase. An example is "Internet Help". This will find all listings that contain the phrase "Internet Help". Note that using the quote marks forces the engine into a case-sensitive search.

url: Find all entries belonging to a given domain or matching a file name, an example is: url:www.mysite.com

url:*asp: The top example will return all entries in the www.mysite.com domain. This example shows how you could find every .asp page listed in the engine.

mailto: Find all entries submitted by a person with this email address mailto:fred@mysite.com

mailto:fred@mysi*: This is a convenience search, if you know who posted a link (or want to see if a certain person has posted any links), this is how you'd find them.

* Match anything *net*

inter*: The asterisk is a powerful search tool, but has some limitations. It cannot span words - that is, the query "powerfu*earch" would not match the first sentence of this paragraph - and it can represent at most four letters or numbers. To avoid overly broad searches, the asterisk can only be used in words or phrases which have at least three alpha-numeric characters. A search for "th*" would be ignored.

Note on case sensitivity - only words or phrases containing an upper case character will be treated as case sensitive. A search on "usa" will match "Usa", "USA", and "usA", while the term "USA" matches only its uppercase version.

 


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