Examples for Searching the Web

If you are confused, here are some more examples for turning search requests into search terms. Please note that these are just one way to attack the search, and there are other synonyms and ways of searching. But it's a start if you're confused.

Request: I want to find pages on punishment of deaf children in elementary school.

Facets: Punishment, Deaf, Children, Elementary School

Synonyms for Punishment : punish, spank, discipline
Synonyms for Deaf : deaf, hearing impaired, mute
Synonyms for Children: child, children, youth, students
Synonyms for Elementary School : elementary school, primary school

At this point, I will look at possibilities for truncation (I'll use * for the truncation symbol) and phrasing, giving me these terms:

punish*, spank*, disciplin*
deaf, "hearing impaired", mute
child*, youth, student*
"elementary school", "primary school"

Boolean construct:
(punish* OR spank* OR disciplin*) AND
(deaf OR "hearing impaired" OR mute) AND
(child* OR youth OR student*) AND
("elementary school" OR "primary school")

Simpler Boolean construct: punish* AND deaf AND child* AND school
(this would have a similar effect, and is easier to type.)

Pseudo-Boolean: +punish* +deaf child* school
(This says we definitely want punish and deaf in there, and then want stuff about children and school near at the top of the list).

Request: I want to find all the information I can about H.P. Lovecraft and his writings.

Facets: H.P. Lovecraft, writings

Synonyms for H.P. Lovecraft: Lovecraft, H. P. Lovecraft
Synonyms for writings: books, works, author, wrote, writing.

Apply phrasing and truncation:
"H.P. Lovecraft", "H. P. Lovecraft", Lovecraft* (notice, since all of these will hit on Lovecraft, I'll simplify the search to just Lovecraft)
book* work*, author*, wr*te, writ*

Boolean search:
Lovecraft* AND (book* OR author* OR wr*te OR writ*)

Pseudo-Boolean search:
+Lovecraft* book* author* wr*te writ*
(This says that I must have Lovecraft in everything - it's more important to me - and put stuff about writing at the top of the list.)

Request: "I want to know where the quote 'Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country' came from."

Facets: "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country", quote

Synonyms for quote: quote, quotation, saying, said by

Apply phrasing and truncation:
quot*, saying, "said by"

Boolean search: "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" AND (quot* OR saying OR "said by")

Pseudo-Boolean: +"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" quot* saying "said by"

You will need to search for this in a Full-text database, as keyword-indexed databases won't index words like "the", "to", and "of".

You can now go:

All contents of this page are copyright 1996, 2002 by Scott Nicholson.