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Optimize your search on our wiki

Save yourself some time!

Authored by
June 29, 2020

Our wiki is built with tools make your searches more powerful and precise. You can use any combination of the operators explained below:

Wildcards

Wildcards let you match any text and are represented by asterisks (*). For example, C* S* matches words starting with C or S. Together they match phrases like Computer Science or Canadian Studies, among other things.

Fields

Fields relate to meta-information about our articles, such as the date or author. You can use them to search only titles, for example, instead of searching the entire wiki. Search for this article with title:optimize.

Available fields: title, description, content, author, category, and date.

Boosts

You can use boosts to prioritize certain search terms over others. For example, foo^10 bar tells the website you’re 10x more interested in the search term foo than bar. Articles containing foo would then be higher in the search results.

Fuzzy Matches

Fuzzy matching allows for some grace if you misspell a term or are off by a few letters. For example, foo~1 matches anything 1 letter away from foo, like boo or food. It will not match words like boot because it has a difference of two letters.

Term Presence

Term presence allows you to explicitly include or exclude phrases in your search query with the symbols + and -, respectively. For example, +foo -bar baz matches only content with foo and without bar, that also may contain baz.

By default, a result comes back if any word separated by a space matches some content. This is a limitation of the code our website uses. Searching for +author:Purdue Pete is seen as two separate terms, +author:Purdue and Pete.

Nothing’s perfect.

Bringing It All Together

You can make your search as simple or as complex as you’d like. As an example, if I wanted to search for meta-articles I’ve authored in June, containing the mis-spelled phrase crakatoa, I could type category:meta +author:Zach +Bryant +date:June -crakatoa~1. Except at this time, my only article contains the phrase krakatoa.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Category: meta

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