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Searching the web

The following is a re-print of Netscape's original search advice page.

How to Search

To perform a search, simply enter the terms you are searching for and click on the "Search" button. For example, a search on "C++" will return all the sites that have the word C++ in them. Searches with multiple terms will automatically insert an "and" between all the terms, so that only sites with all of the search words in them will be returned. For example, a search on "golf clubs" will return sites that have both golf and clubs in the site's name and description. Sites on "tennis clubs" or "golf balls" will not be displayed (unless they also mention golf and clubs). If no sites are found that contain both terms, sites that contain either term will be displayed.

Phrase Search

Sometimes the order of the search terms matters. Using phrase searching can greatly reduce the number of sites that are matched by a search. For example, if you searched for "Tour de France" You would get only sites containing all three words "tour", "de", and "France" - in that order.

Search Defaults

All searches use "and" as the default linking operator between all of the search terms. Thus, searching for "red herring" is the same as searching for "red and herring"

For both of these searches, only those sites with "red" and "herring" in the site name or description will be returned. Sites that mention only "red" but not "herring" will not be displayed. To get sites containing either "red" or "herring" use the keyword "or". See the next section on using Boolean operators.

Boolean Searches

There are several Boolean operators to choose from: "or", "and", and "andnot". Terms linked by the and operator will return only those sites that match all the search terms linked by the and operator. The default is "and". If you don't use any Boolean operators, only those sites that contain at least one occurrence of each search term will be returned.

Terms linked by the "or" operator will return those sites that match any of the search terms linked by "or". For example, "grey or gray and parrot"

Terms linked by the "andnot" operator will exclude all sites that match the search term following the "andnot". For example, "random andnot house" will find sites about randomness but exclude sites about the publisher Random House.

Wildcard Search

Netscape Search allows limited use of wildcards in searches. This is useful when you are trying to match a term that may or may not be plural or might use one of several verb tenses. For example, if you wanted to find sites that had to do with bicycling you might use the following search: "bicycl*" This would match sites on bicycling, bicycle, and bicycles.

Netscape Search search does not support arbitrary wildcards, so searches on "*cycling" or "arch*ology" will not work.

Shorthand Search Terms

You can prefix search terms with "-" and "+" to force the exclusion or inclusion of that term. This is really just shorthand for using the andnot and and Boolean operators.

The following example will return all the sites on baseball except those that mention "umpire." - "+baseball -umpire" Note: You cannot begin a search with a "-" term. You must put some other search term first.

Complex Searches

You can mix and match the above search methods to create very complex searches. This search will return all sites on Lego trains, but exclude all the links that mention Duplo: "lego train* andnot duplo"
This search will find references to racing, except those that are about racing cars or motorcycles: "racing -auto -car -motorcycle -road -nascar"