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LIBRARY SEARCH HELP

Making Queries

Excite for Web Servers gives web users access to a sophisticated concept-based searching engine. But even though the search engine is advanced, users can form queries without using a complicated query language. This page will help you to choose the queries that will give you the best results.

Query Basics

A query is simply a description of an information need. Unlike Boolean systems that search for just those documents containing all the words in your query, Excite for Web Servers will search for documents that are a best match for the words in your query. Excite for Web Servers will also search for documents that are about the same concepts that your query describes, so sometimes Excite for Web Servers will bring back articles that don't mention any of the words in your original query.

What this means is that your query -- the description of your information need -- can be as detailed as you like. Don't worry about providing too many words; the more words, the better. Additional words in your query will help Excite for Web Servers figure out what concepts you're really interested in. On the other hand, Excite for Web Servers will do a pretty good job of figuring out what documents are interesting to you even if your query is vague.

For example, let's say you're searching a web site for documents about customer support for the Widget2000 product you're using. A good starting point would be


        customer support for the Widget2000

If you have a question about a particular feature of the Widget2000, for example the Blurfl upgrade package, you might choose a query like


        customer support for the Blurfl upgrade package

        of the Widget2000

Even if there are no documents that are actually about the Blurfl upgrade, Excite for Web Servers will still show you documents about Widget2000 customer support.

Advanced Query Tips

Here are some suggestions for getting the best results out of Excite for Web Servers.

Only use words that are relevant to your query
If you're looking for documents about the Widget2000, don't enter a query like "Find me all documents about the Widget2000". Excite for Web Servers considers all the words in your query to be part of your information need, so queries like the previous example will find all documents about finding all documents about the Widget2000, which may not be exactly what you want.

Specify multiple forms of the same phrases
Excite for Web Servers distinguishes between hyphenated and un-hyphenated words. So, sometimes it might be necessary to explicitly say that you want both versions, for example "CDROM CD-ROM". Excite for Web Servers will try to figure out that CDROM and CD-ROM are the same, but it never hurts to explicitly specify multiple forms.

Common words are ignored
Excite for Web Servers doesn't index common words like a, and, or the. Consequently, those words in your query will be ignored. Excite for Web Servers also ignores numbers; however, it can find strings that happen to contain a number, for example 3Com.



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