This article provides an overview of BelieveTheSign's search feature, as well as using external search engines, such as Google, to find information.
Put your text in the searchbox; it provides an input field with two buttons:
- Go - the Go button (or Enter on the keyboard), will take you automatically to the best match for the entered keyword.
- Search - the Search button will return a list of matching results.
Here are few good tips and hints for using the BelieveTheSign search feature effectively:
- Any word: BelieveTheSign's default search mode will turn up results with any of the words in your query. For instance, search engine turns up many results containing only "search" but not "engine" or only "engine" but not "search" in addition to the ones you probably wanted, which contain both words.
- All words: To limit to results that include all words, put a "+" at the beginning of each word: +search +engine returns only pages containing both words, like Google's default mode. You can also do a phrase search by enclosing words in quotes: "search engine" turns up a smaller set of results, which not only have both words but have them in order.
- Exclude words: To exclude results that include some words, put a "-" at the beginning: search -engine
Boolean search is also possible, using words including "AND", "OR", and "NOT".
Avoid short and common words
If your search terms include a common "stop word" (such as "the", "one", "your", "more", "right", "while", "when", "who", "which", "such", "every", "about") it may give a large number of non-relevant results.
You can use some limited wildcards if you really want to. Look up "fulltext search" on http://www.mysql.com/ and look down under 'boolean search' for the details. However, wildcard searches are slower, so go easy on our poor server.
Words in single quotes
If a word appears in an article with single quotes, you can only find it if you search for the word with quotes. Since this is rarely desirable it is better to use double quotes in articles, for which this problem does not arise. See the manual of style for more info.
An apostrophe is identical to a single quote, therefore can be found searching for exactly that (and not otherwise). A word with apostrophe s is an exception in that it can be found also searching for the word without the apostrophe and the s.
Namespaces searched by default
The search only applies to the namespaces selected in the user's preferences. To search the other namespaces check or uncheck the tickboxes in "Search in namespaces" box found at the bottom of a search results page. Depending on the browser, a box may still be checked from a previous search, but without being effective any longer! To make sure, uncheck and recheck it.
Searching the image namespace means searching the image descriptions, i.e. the first parts of the image description pages.
Delay in updating the search index
For reasons of efficiency and priority, very recent changes are not always immediately taken into account in searches.
External search engines
Various search engines can provide domain-specific searches, which lets you search BelieveTheSign specifically. Searches are based on the text as shown by the browser, so wiki markup is irrelevant.
In general, external search engines are faster than a BelieveTheSign search. However, because the search engine's cache is based on when the site was indexed, the search may not return newly created pages. Similarly, the search engine's cached version of the page will not be as up-to-date as the link to BelieveTheSign itself.
If you frequently search via Google, consider installing the Google Toolbar. Using the "search this site" button allows you to quickly search BelieveTheSign. The official Google Toolbar is for Internet Explorer (Windows only) and for Mozilla Firefox (works on all operating system platforms for which Firefox is available, such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X).
If you frequently search via Yahoo!, consider installing the Yahoo! Companion Toolbar. Using the "Search Only the Current Site" button allows you to quickly search the English version of BelieveTheSign. The official Yahoo! Companion Toolbar is only for Windows with Internet Explorer and Mozilla.