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Help



Search Help and Tips

You can search this web site using a powerful search engine. The search engine only finds information on our web site. Below is a description of how the search engine works to help you find what you need.

Words and Phrases
Entering More Than One Word or Phrase
Narrowing, Restricting, and Expanding the Search
Capitalization
Using Parenthesis
"Wild Card" Searches
"Stem" Searches
"MANY" Searches
Words Near Each Other


Words and Phrases

You can enter a word or phrase, with or without quotes. A phrase is two or more words separated by a blank space.
Examples:
  • tigger
    Finds the word "tigger" on pages in this web site.

  • united states Finds the phrase "united states" on pages in this web site. Note that words separated by a blank space are treated as a phrase.

  • "united states" Same as previous example. The phrase "united states" is found in the web site.

If you know a group of words will appear together you can help narrow your search by providing the exact phrase for the search engine to find.

  • "united states"
  • university of pittsburgh
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Entering More Than One Word or Phrase

To enter more than one word or phrase you need to use "AND", "OR", "NOT" or a comma. Examples:
  • "united states" and mexico and canada
    Find any page where the phrase "united states" and the words "mexico" and "canada" also appear. The "AND" operator is used to restrict or narrow down the search.

  • canada or "united states"
    Find any page containing the word "canada" or "united states". The search results may contain one or both of the search terms. The "OR" operator is used to expand your search.

  • tigger, pooh, christopher robin
    Find any page containing "tigger" or "pooh" or "christopher robin". The comma (,) can be used instead of the "OR" operator.

  • wizard or witch not oz
    The "NOT" operator is used to eliminate or exclude certain references from the search results. In the above example, the search engine will find any page with the words "wizard" or "witch" but not the word "oz" (as in the "Wizard of Oz").

By default, the "AND" operator is processed before the "OR" operator. So
  • pooh or tigger and rabbit
    is the same as
    pooh or (tigger and rabbit)

  • If you want "pooh or tigger" found first, use parenthesis as described below... to get
    (pooh or tigger) and rabbit
Searching for "AND", "OR" or "NOT"
If you need to include "AND", "OR" or "NOT" in your search you can place these words in quotes. Examples:
  • war "and" peace
    Find all pages that contain "war and peace". In this case, the word "and" is treated as part of the phrase because it is in the quotes.

  • "war and peace"
    Same as above.
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Narrowing, Restricting, and Expanding the Search

Use AND to Narrow The Search

AND narrows your search to all words or phrases you entered.

  • united states and canada
  • "university of pittsburgh" and engineering
Use AND NOT to Restrict The Search

AND NOT eliminates pages containing a word or phrase.

  • surfing and not "the net" 
Use OR to Expand The Search

OR expands your search to find any word or phrase you entered.

  • psychology or psychologist or mental health
  • orthopedics or orthopaedics
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Capitalization

This search engine ignores upper or lower case letters in the pages to be searched if you enter the words or phrases in your search terms in completely lower case letters or completely upper case letters. If you use upper and lower case letters, the search engine will look for that specific mix of capitalization. Examples:
  • daily
    Find the word "daily" no matter how it is capitalized. Will find: daily, Daily, DAILY, ...

  • DAILY
    Find the word "daily" no matter how it is capitalized. Will find: daily, Daily, DAILY, ...

  • Daily
    Find the exact word "Daily" with a capital "D" and lower case "aily"

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Using Parenthesis

You can control how the search engine uses your keywords to find information using parenthesis. Examples:
  • "united states" and (canada or mexico or "north america")
    Searches for all pages that mention the United States and any of the following words or phrases: Canada, Mexico or North America

  • (("john wayne" or "jim hutton") and (not "maureen"))
    This search will find John Wayne or Jim Hutton where Maureen [O'Hara] is not mentioned
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"Wild Card" Searches

"Wild card" searches allow you to enter part of a word.

  • meet* - Any Characters
    The asterisk (*) tells the search engine to find any number of characters. In the above example, the search engine will find: meet, meat, meeting, meets, ...

  • m??t - One Character
    The question mark (?) is used to tell the search engine to find any letter where the question mark is placed. In the example above, the search engine will find: meet, meat, must, moot, mutt, ...

Wild card characters can also help you find words even if you don't know the exact spelling.

  • key* 
    Find any word beginning with "key"

  • gov* 
    Find any word beginning with "gov"

  • m*t 
    Find any word beginning with "m" and ending in "t"

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"Stem" Search

By default the search engine will look for the word you entered plus any variations. So, if you enter save the search engine will also find "saves" and "saved". This is called a stem search.

If you do not want the search engine to include these variations you can enclose the word in quotes, like "save". The search engine will only find the word "save".

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"MANY" Search

By default, the search engine will return all retrieved documents listed in order by a relevancy ranking, or score. This score is listed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more occurrences of a word or phrase exist, proportional to the amount of document text. A longer document with more occurrences of a word may have a lower percentage than a smaller document that contains fewer occurrences of the same word.

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"Near" Searches

If you think two words or phrases might be near each other on a page you can use the "<NEAR>" operator. NEAR finds all pages where the words or phrases are within 3 to 5 words of each other. Example:
  • pittsburgh <near> panther
    Find all pages where pittsburgh and panther are mentioned within 3 to 5 words of each other
You can control the number of words the search engine looks to find "near" words. Example:
  • pittsburgh <NEAR/25> panther
    This example allows the search engine to find all pages where pittsburgh and panther are mentioned within 25 words of each other



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