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Do you want your search to be succesful? Then before entering your search words
read the messages below

Indexed by the FreeFind Search Engine
We know that many searches

tell you what you want to know!

More detailed search help

So... please read this before searching!!!

Most searches people enter into the search box do not turn up articles telling them what they want to know. The reason is that the person does not know what to enter to get a successful result, or cannot spell correctly.

So use the "KISS" approach... that is,

"Keep It Simple, Stupid!"

These are the main problems:

  • People can't spell:
    If you spell a word wrongly it will not be found. An amazing number of people cannot spell Scruggs. They enter Scrugs and wonder why nothing turns up. If they had put scru* instead it would have worked, because the * (asterisk) is a 'wildcard' that stands for 'anything'.
    Even scru* would have worked! We see a lot of mis-spelled queries...
  • People enter phrases that are too complicated:
    Someone recently searched for "listen to bluegrass" AND "teach yourself banjo". That is a no-hoper. It means that the article has to contain both phrases exactly as entered. Teach yourself with "Match all" checked is a good start, producing 4 results, of which at least one is useful. Learn banjo turns up 73 items, so that's a good start too - you just refine the search words to narrow it down.

    Another over-complex search I saw was (death of Jim McReynolds) AND (Jim McReynolds). Happily it turned up a short announcement, but he was lucky. And "McReynolds" is hard to spell... just jim mc* would have been much better.

    I was amazed that Duck+Duffey worked. But it worked only because the September 1997 issue had these two articles in the contents list:

      * The John Duffey Interview (Part 1)
      * Bluegrass Day at The Dog & Duck
    (a pub)

    What luck!

  • Keep it short: Capitalise on unusual words
    If you want to find articles with, say, Deering in them then just enter Deering. Making it complicated just makes it less likely to come up and increases the chance of fatal spelling mistakes.

More detailed help

By default the search engine tries to locate pages which have exact matches for all of the words entered in your search query. If that fails, it then tries to locate pages which contain any words in your search query. If that happens a short message is displayed at the top of the search results indicating this has been done.

In addition, there are several ways to modify the default search behaviour:

Phrase search
The search engine supports three types of phrase search. To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase:
Example: "bluegrass banjo"

To match a near/close-by (within a couple of words) phrase, use square brackets [] around the words. Example: [5-string banjo]

To match a far/fairly separated (within several words) phrase, use braces { } around the words.
Example: {bluegrass club}

+ and - qualifiers
If you prepend a word with + that word is required to be on the page.
If you prepend a word with - that word is required not to be on the page.
Example: +always -never

The * wildcard
If a query word ends with a * all words on a page which start the same way as that query word will match.
gift* or Scru*

The ? wildcard
If a query word contains a ? any character will match that position.
Example: b?g

Boolean searches
You can use the following boolean 'operators' in your search:
are three 'Boolean operators' and they MUST be in capital letters.
Example: (contact AND us) OR (about AND us) NOT you

All of these techniques can be combined. Example: +alway* -ne??r*

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10 June 2009