Searching Help

The best way to improve your results is to improve the structure of your search terms. The more specific you are when writing your search parameters, the better the results will be.

Search Engine Considerations

The search engine follows these rules when it processes your query.

All Words are Optional

The search engine looks for pages that contain any term entered in the query text box. For example, if you search for rock climbing, any page containing at least the word rock or at least the word climbing will be returned.

Words Verses Phrases

All search terms are treated as unique, separate words. If you are searching for an exact phrase, you must place quotes around the words. For example, if you get too many results for rock climbing (because any page which contains the word rock or the word climbing will be returned), try searching for the exact phrase "rock climbing". These quotation marks are a Boolean operator—they modify the way the search is performed. More information about Boolean operators can be found below.

Some Information is Ignored

"Noise" words that would significantly slow down returns without improving results are ignored. Noise words are any words that are three characters or less in length (such as to, the or and). Noise words are also any very common words (such as there, when, because.) Lastly, punctuation marks that are not used as Boolean operators are ignored.

Case Sensitivity

The search engine is not case-sensitive. For example, searching for the word alaska will retun pages which contain Alaska.


Boolean Operators

Below are some symbols you may use that will alter the way your searches are performed.

Symbol Function Example Search Example Result
+ - A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in the pages that are returned. A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in pages returned. +rock +climbing -alaska This will find all pages that contain both the words rock and climbing (in any order) but do not contain the word alaska.
* The asterisk serves as the truncation (or wildcard) operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be added to the end of a search term. Words match if they begin with the word preceding the * operator. rock* This will find words such as rock, rocks, rocket or rocklike.
" A phrase that is enclosed in double quotation marks results in only pages that contain that phrase literally, as it was typed. "rock climbing" This will find the phrase rock climbing, with the words in that order.