Creating Basic Searches

Generally, you can find what you need by entering a basic query (using a word or a phrase):

Obama

mortgage interest rates

zip code of Atlanta GA

If needed, you can create more advanced queries using various operators and logic.

 

 Search Rules

The following search rules are in effect:

  • Generally, all words that you enter will be used in the query. However, there are exceptions.
  • Search is always case-insensitive. For example:

Black Bear Attacks
Finds the same results as black bear attacks.

  • Generally, punctuation is ignored, including @#$%^&*()=+[]\ and other special characters. However, there are exceptions.

 

 Search Tips

Consider the following tips to create more effective queries:

  • Keep it simple. If you're looking for a particular company, just enter its name, or as much of its name as you can recall. If you're looking for a particular concept, place, or product, start with its name. If you're looking for a pizza restaurant, just enter pizza and the name of your town or your zip code. Most queries do not require advanced operators or unusual syntax. Simple is good.

  • Use words that most likely exist in the article. Some search phrases may make perfect sense to a human, but may not find your desired results. For example:

Don't use:
my head hurts

Instead, use:
headache, since that's the term a medical article would use.

Don't use:
in what country are bats considered an omen of good luck?

Instead, use:
bats are considered good luck in or bats good luck, since these phrases most likely exist in the article(s) with the correct answer.

  • Use as few terms as possible. The purpose of each word in a query is to narrow (focus) its scope. Since all words are used in the query, each additional word limits the results. If you limit the scope too much, you will not receive a lot of useful information in your results. But, if you start with fewer keywords and don't get what you need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results on the next search. For example:

weather cancún
Provides a simple way to find the weather in Cancún, Mexico.

weather report for cancún mexico
May find more (or less) results than you are looking for.

  • Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word is, the more likely you are to
    get relevant results. Words that are not very descriptive, like document, website,
    company, or info are usually not needed. Keep in mind, however, that even if the
    word has the correct meaning, but it is not the word that most people use, it may
    not match the pages you need. For example:

celebrity ringtones is more descriptive and specific than celebrity sounds.