Help for searching this site

From December 2002 we have a new search engine. It finds all pages added to the site yesterday or before. If you find bugs, let us know.

Simple search boxes like the one on the right will find those web pages that contain all the words you enter. Just click on the title of a story to see it, or on the next button at the bottom to see more titles.

Those pages the search engine considers the best matches, it lists first. But on 1 October 2013 the string BBC appeared in 346 (up from 137 pages on 3 December 2002)... So if you don't see a page you think is on the site and don't want to wade through all those titles, add another word in the Refine your search box (like the one below) to narrow down the search, or change the order in which the results are sorted.

Refine your search:

Search for  
showing  "hits" per page in  format, sorted  

Click on a downward-pointing arrow to see a list of options and select one.

General tips

As with all internet searches, you do not want to enter words that describe a page, or words that it might be catalogued under in a library. You want to enter words that will appear in the page that you want to read. Free-association may help.

Searching for very common words (eg "this" or "that") will not work: think of alternatives.

Searches on this site are not case-sensitive. That is, searches for "BBC", "bbc" and indeed "BbC" will produce exactly the same results.

If you run out of space in the search box, keep typing. Your text will move along.

Format...

Long format shows an extract from each found page. This contains the first found word if it's not too far down; otherwise it's the top of the page.

Short format shows only the page titles.

Sorted...

If you disagree with the search engine's notion of what's the best match, change the sorting order.

Search for: all / any / the Boolean

As well as searching for pages containing all the words you enter, or those with any of the words you enter, you can search using "Boolean" logic. Eeek?

"Boolean algebra" is the name for the way computers deal with questions. It's named after George Boole (1815-1864), who invented a system of algebra that works on the logical values "true" and "false" rather than on numbers, using or and and instead of + and ÷.

But it's not as scary as all that. It can be extremely useful in picking out just the page you want. Examples should help:

fish and chips and peas Finds all the pages that contain the word "fish" and also contain the word "chips" and also contain the word "peas" - and no others. A search for all the words "fish chips peas" translates into this.

cod or plaice or haddock Finds all the pages that contain the word "cod" plus all the pages that contain the word "plaice" plus all the pages that contain the word "haddock". Pages that contain more than one of these words are included. (That is, this is an inclusive "or".) A search for any of the words "cod plaice haddock" translates into this.

pie and mash not gravy Finds all the pages that contain the word "pie" and also contain the word "mash", and eliminates any pages in that set that contain the word "gravy". BBC not rights might be a useful example here.

bacon and (eggs or beans) The () parentheses tell the search engine which bit to deal with first. This searches for all the pages that contain the word "eggs" plus all those that contain the word "beans" - and then it narrows that list down to those that also contain the word "bacon". (Without the parentheses, you'd probably see results for (bacon and eggs) or beans - which is quite different. Work it out.) (BBC or ITN) and rights might be useful.

lunch* The * means "I don't care what the rest of the word is". Equivalent to (lunch or lunched or luncheon or luncheonette or lunches or lunching or lunchtime) - plus any other words starting with "lunch".

"greasy spoon" New: you can now search for exact phrases by putting them in quotes.

[NUJ.LFB home]
More help:
Site map Last modified: 03 November 2005
Send comments to: editor@londonfreelance.org
© 2002 all rights reserved Mike Holderness

Search powered by ht://Dig - www.htdig.org
[NUJ.LFB home]