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Tips for Searching

At its simplest, a query can be just a word or a phrase. But with the tips on this page, you can expand the focus of your query to give you more complete results.

  • Look for words with the same prefix. For example, in your query form type key* to find key, keying, keyhole, keyboard, and so on.
  • Search for all forms of a word. For example, in the form type sink** to find sink, sinking, sank, and sunk.
  • Search with the keyword NEAR, rather than AND, for words close to each other. For example, both of these queries, system and manager and system near manager, look for the words system and manager on the same page. But with NEAR, the returned pages are ranked in order of proximity: The closer together the words are, the higher the rank of that page.
  • Refine your queries with the AND NOT keywords to exclude certain text from your search. For example, if you want to find all instances of surfing but not the Net, write the following query:

surfing AND NOT the Net

  • Add the OR keyword to find all instances of either one word or another, for example:

Abbott OR Costello

    This query finds all pages that mention Abbott or Costello or both.

  • Put quotation marks around keywords if you want search to take them literally. For instance, if you type the following query:

“system near manager”

    The software will literally look for the complete phrase system near manager.  But if you type the same query without the quotation marks:

system near manager

    The software searches all documents for the words system and manager.

  • Use Free Text Queries if you want to enter queries using natural language. The software will examine your query, extract nouns and noun phrases and construct a query for you. With free text queries you can enter any text you want, from a proper question, to a string of words and phrases, without worrying about the query language. For example, if you type in the following query:

Has Joseph ever been to Boston?

    The software will create a query for you automatically and begin the search. Note that when you're using free text queries, the regular query language features are disabled and keywords such as AND, OR, and NEAR are interpreted as normal words.


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All rights reserved. Updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010
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Joseph C. Phillips is an actor and writer living in Hollywood, California. He is perhaps best known as one of the stars of The Cosby Show. He was also a three-time NAACP award nominee for his role as attorney Justus Ward on the daytime drama General Hospital and was the mayor on The District.  Mr. Phillips has had essays published in Essence magazine, USA today and the College Digest among others.