Help:Searching

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"Searching" provides help for editing and/or navigating OpenCongress. For more help see the main help page or contact one of the managing editors.

To search, just type your query into the box at the top and bottom of each page and hit "Search". Some hints and tips follow:

Contents

All search terms must be present

Only pages that contain all the words exactly as you typed them in will be returned. So if you didn't get any results, leave out one or more terms, or make sure that all search terms were spelled correctly. Furthermore, if you searched for "Horse", then articles that contain "Horses" but not "Horse" won't be shown.

Avoid short and common words

This is the most likely cause of an unexpected failed search. If your search terms include a common "stop word" (such as "the", "one", "your", "more", "right", "while", "when", "who", "which", "such", "every", "about", "onto"), then your search will fail without any results. Short numbers, and words that appear in half of all articles, will also not be found. In this case, drop those words and rerun the search.

Search is case-insensitive

The searches for "fortran", "Fortran" and "FORTRAN" all return the same results.

Words used with 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.

Words with special characters

In a search for a word with a diaeresis, such as Sint Odiliënberg, it depends whether this ë is stored as one character or as "ë". In the first case one can simply search for Odilienberg (or Odiliënberg); in the second case it can only be found by searching for Odili, euml and/or nberg.

Only main namespace is searched by default

The search only applies to the main namespace (those articles without "OpenCongress:" or "talk:" or "user:" in front). The main namespace contains the encyclopedia proper. To search the other namespaces check or uncheck the tickboxes in "Search in namespaces" box found at the bottom of a search results page.

Boolean search possible

You can use the words "and", "or" and "not" and parentheses in order to formulate more complicated requests. If none of those words is specified, "and" is used by default. For instance, "indian not american" will return all pages with the word "indian" which don't contain the word "american". The search "(Adolph or Adolf) and Hitler" will return all pages which contain "Hitler" and either "Adolf" or "Adolph".

No regular expressions or wildcards

You cannot use regular expressions or wildcards such as ? or *. If you don't know what that is, don't worry about it. To search for articles with the words "boat" or "boats" search like this: "(boat or boats)".

Redirects can be excluded

Check or uncheck the tickbox "List redirects" in "Search in namespaces" box found at the bottom of a search results page.

Acknowledgment: the content of many of the help pages in OpenCongress have been adapted from Wikipedia and Sourcewatch.

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