Help:Wiki searching

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The simplest (but not always the best) way to find information in this wiki is to look it up directly. On the left-hand side of your screen there is a Search box with two buttons under it labeled "Go" and "Search".

Put your keyword in the searchbox.

  • Go - (or Enter on keyboard) will take you automatically to the article, if it exists.
  • Search - will search the text of all pages on the wiki (with some restrictions, see below).

If you clicked 'search', or you clicked 'go' and the page you were looking for did not exist, you will be presented with a list of articles that matched your search criteria (or a message that no matches were found).

How it works

Here's how the search works:

  • Only the article content is searched - the page title is ignored.
  • The article content is searched in its raw (wikitext) form - i.e., it searches the text that appears in the edit box when you click 'edit', not the rendered page. This means that content coming from an included template will not be picked up, but the target of piped links will be.
  • Even if you enclose a phrase in quotes, the search looks for each word individually. e.g., if you enter "world war 2" it will return pages that contain "world" and "war" and "2".
  • The search is not case-sensitive, so "MediaWiki", "mediawiki" and "MEDIAWIKI" all give the same result.
  • Unsuccessful searches are often caused by searching for common words like "have" and "from", which are not indexed, or by specifying more than one search term (only pages containing all of the search terms will appear in the result).
  • Limited testing suggests that no word with as few as three characters is indexed.

Restricting the search

If you click the 'Search' button without filling in anything, you will be taken to 'Special:Search' which gives you extra searching options (also available from any search results list)

You may find it useful to restrict a search to pages within a particular namespace e.g., only search within the 'Talk' pages. Tick the namespaces you require for this search.

By default only the namespaces specified in your preferences will be searched. Logged-in users can change their preferences to specify the namespaces they want to search by default. This can be done by selecting and deselecting boxes in the 'search' section of user preferences.

An alternative:Google searches

Instead of using the MediaWiki search engine, you can instead use Google to search the ISFDB and/or the ISFDB wiki. You do this by inserting a "site:" specifier into the Google search string, or using the Google "Advanced Search" screen and filling in the "site" parameter (these have exactly the same effect)

For example, the Google search string "canadian price" will search for the phrase "canadian price" in both the ISFDB wiki and the ISFDB database proper. The search string "canadian price" searches for the same phrase in the ISFDB wiki only.

Some other public search engines can be used in a similar way.

Differences from wiki-search

  • A Google search makes available a more complex and flexible interface.
  • The Google search engine has had a lot of work put into it, far more than the media-wiki search engine has.
  • The Google search engine does not (at least without a god deal of work composing your query) differentiate between wiki namespaces, so a search will search all namespaces.
  • The Google search will only search the ISFDB as it was the last time Google scanned the site (or a particular page). This may mean that the search is, in effect, searching the ISFDB as it was several weeks ago, and there is no indication of when the last scan was.
  • The Google search looks at the rendered page text, not the wiki-source. Thus the rendered contents of templates will be searched, but template names used on a page will not be; actual page targets in a piped link will not be searched; HTML comments will not be searched; etc. This may be a good or a bad thing, depending on the search in question.

This page is derived from the MediaWiki help page on Searching