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Search By options on end-user pages
Answer ID 566   |   Last Review Date 05/10/2022

What kind of searches are performed when a specific option is selected on the Answers Search page?


Enduser Page, Phrase Searching


The end-user page view allows four different types of searching to be performed when finding publicly-displayed answers. The default options are: phrases, similar phrases, exact phrase, and complex expression. The table below provides descriptions and examples for each type. In addition, click the Search Tips link above the Search Text (optional) box to view this same information.

The menu options listed in the Search field are run-time selectable filters configured for the report used for the End-user Answers List page. The search types correspond to the following database fields from the answers table:

Search Type Database Field
 Phrases  answers.search_nl
 Similar Phrases  answers.search_fnl
 Exact Phrase  answers.search_ex
 Complex Expression

Note: In the Customer Portal page set, the Search Type field is defined by the standard/search/SearchTypeList or SearchTypeList2 widget.

This widget defines options listed in the Search Type field when using an answer or incident report. The options in the menu correspond to runtime filters in the report. For answers, the search_nl, search_fnl, search_cpx, and search_ex filters are used to display the Phrases, Similar Phrases, Complex Expression and Exact Search options. For incidents, the search_thread and ref_no filters display as Summary/Thread and Reference # in the menu. If 'search_type_only' is set to false, all runtime filters of type integer (INT) or text (VARCHAR) are also included in the Search Type menu, including both standard and custom fields.

Indexing Words and Phrases:
When a word is placed into the phrases table of the database (from which all searches find keywords), all punctuation characters are removed from the word and the word is indexed in all uppercase letters. As a result, when "~tabletop" is placed into the phrases table, it is entered as "TABLETOP". Searching is therefore not sensitive to upper and lowercase characters.

When a phrase (or similar phrase) search is performed on ~tabletop, the search ignores the leading character and searches on tabletop, which will find all incidents with tabletop in them. This search often results in more answers than you are searching for since it removes any special characters.

All search techniques involve word stemming. When a search is performed each word in the phrase is stemmed to its root form and the search is performed on the root forms of each word. As a result, answers with different word forms, such as plural and singular nouns and different verb tenses, are included in the search results. For example, if you search for the word reflect, answers that contain the words reflection, reflections, reflected, reflecting or reflects are returned in the search results.

Note: The maximum length of a keyword is 25 characters. Any word longer than 25 characters will be excluded as a keyword, and is therefore not searchable.

Default Search Options: 

Phrases: Type a short phrase or question describing what you want to know using natural language. Be sure to separate words with spaces and to include relevant information. You may use the require word (+) or exclude word (-) functions described below.

Example: To ask the question, How can I learn more about wildfires, type either that exact sentence or wildfires, in the text box and click Search.
Similar Phrases: Use this technique if you do not know the exact spelling or meaning of a word or phrase to check for similarly spelled words or synonyms. Use require (+) or exclude (-) word functions described below.

Example: To search for What do I do when my hous is on fyre, type the exact sentence or hous fyre to find similar words or phrases such as house and abode, flame and fire.
Exact Phrase: Use this technique to find question/answer pairs that match the same pattern of words contained in the text box.
Example: To search question/answer pairs that contain Snake River, type the exact words, Snake River, in the text box.
Complex Expression: Use this technique for wild card searching (*). Search for patterns if you know how they start, but not how they end. The asterisk covers all possible extensions.

Example: To search question/answer pairs for occurrences of lodgepole pine, type lodge* in the text box.

General Search Tips 

In addition, some general searching tips are listed below:

To Require Words: Use the plus (+) symbol in front of words or phrases to find question/answer pairs that contain those words or phrases.

Example: Search for +wildlife +bear to find documents that must contain both words, wildlife and bear.
To Exclude Words: Use the minus (-) symbol in front of words to exclude question/answer pairs that contain those words.

Example: Search for +wildlife -moose to find documents that contain the word wildlife but not the word moose.
Use Root Words: Enter the root of the word to search for different tenses of the word including singular, plural, past, present or future.

Example: Search for reflect to find answers that contain the words reflection, reflections, reflected, reflecting, or reflects.
Use Rare Words: The more unusual your words are, the more specific your results will be. Always enter the rare word first.