Advanced Search Features
Boolean operators are the power searcher's friend. They allow you to
enter "advanced" searches directly as text, instead of using the
Modify panel. Remember: to use any Boolean operators, you must first select "Boolean Search" from the "all the words" menu.
||AND links two or more
terms together to narrow a search. Only pages containing all the terms listed
will produce a successful result. For example, Nostradamus AND prophesy
will return results with both the term Nostradamus and the term prophesy
in the pages.
||OR links two terms
and collects all documents that include either term. For example, searching
for design OR "graphic arts" will bring up pages containing one or both
||The NOT or ! operator
will search for records that contain the query term that precedes it, but
do not contain the term that follows it. For example, searching for boxers
NOT shorts will produce documents related to pugilists without mistakenly
giving you articles about trousers that do not descend below the knee.
Each of the Boolean
operators described above will work on either a simple search term or
a more complex query marked by parentheses. This allows you to construct
very powerful queries. For example,
"bed and breakfast"
AND ((grapes AND California) OR "wine country")
((hacker OR programmer)
NOT "part time") AND (design OR "graphic arts")
Query modifiers can be used to further refine all the words,
any of the words, and Boolean searches. When entering search
terms into the main or Modify type-in boxes, you can use quotation
marks around phrases ("search engines") and pluses and
minuses before words and phrases (+sports -"ice hockey").
These query modifiers allow greater control of search results.
||Quotation marks (" ") are used to denote exact phrases. For example,
a search on "New York Times" will match only documents
containing the words as an exact phrase. It will not find pages with
the words used in different orders, such as "New times in York!".
||The plus operator ( + ) placed before a word or phrase requires that
all returned pages contain that search term. For example, JFK
+CIA will return only pages mentioning the CIA, but pages that
also mention JFK will be ranked higher in the results.
The minus operator ( - ) placed before a word or phrase excludes all
documents containing that search term. For example, searching for
"Three Musketeers" -candy will help you find Web pages about
the book and the movies without mistakenly getting articles about the
Use an asterisk (*) to find pages containing words that begin or end with the same letters. For example, a search for comput* would return pages containing words like "compute," "computer," and "computation."
Meta words are short cuts that allow experienced searchers to use
HotBot's non-text search features from the main text box. A Meta word
is a keyword:value pair, separated by a colon (with no spaces). For
example: the title keyword finds values in the titles of Web pages, so
a search containing the meta word title:president will return
documents with the word president in their titles.
It is important to understand that HotBot treats Meta words as words,
not as commands that effect the entire search. So the search
title:president Nixon will return documents with the
"president" in the title and "Nixon" in the body of the document.
Furthermore, all of the advanced search modifiers can be used with
meta words. For example:
Restricts a search to the domain selected. Domains can be
specified up to three levels deep (.com, intel.com,
Restricts the depth of pages retrieved.|
|| Detects Acrobat files
|| Detects embedded Java applets
|| Detects ActiveX controls or layouts
|| Detects a range of audio formats
|| Detects plugins
|| Detects the Flash plugin in HTML
|| Detects the use of forms in HTML
|| Detects the use of frames in HTML
|| Detects image files (GIF, JPEG, etc.)
|| Detects embedded scripts
|| Detects Shockwave files
|| Detects the use of tables in HTML
|| Detects a range of video formats
|| Detects VRML files
Restricts a search to pages containing embedded files with the
specified extension. For example, outgoingurlext:ra finds pages
containing RealAudio files.
|newsgroup:[full newsgroup name]
Restricts Usenet searches to articles that have been posted to the
This searches for pages containing the given word in their titles between
the HTML ... tags. Any additional words with this marker
could be found anywhere within the text of a document, including, but not
limited to, the title.|
One should note the spacing after a colon when using a meta tag. For
example, "title:[word]" is equivalent to one word, and "title: [word]" is
equivalent to two words.
Restricts a search to documents created or modified after the
specified date (e.g., currents AND after:30/6/96).
Restricts a search to documents created or modified before the
specified date (e.g., "cyber crime" AND before:30/6/96).
Restricts a search to documents created or modified within the last
specified time period (e.g., (pet +care) AND within:3/months).
Units can be days, months, or years.
Currently, all date meta words are special cases
in the search engine and will only function correctly if used as a
single term within a Boolean clause, without any pluses or minuses.
So (+cloning -sheep) AND within:8/months is OK, but
+cloning -sheep +within:8/months will not work.
-feature:image +title:president Nixon
will return pages that must not contain images, do have "president" in
their title and may have the word "Nixon" in them.
These special search words can be added to queries to restrict search
results in a number of ways. Most of these effects can also be
achieved by using the controls on the HotBot page.
Wildcards let you search for patterns of characters in words. The * (asterisk) symbol matches 0 or more characters; the ? (question mark) symbol matches one character. For example, the query *man will return documents containing the words man, woman, Spiderman, Oman, and so on, while the query car? will return documents containing words like cart, card, care, and Cary. Remember that the search string must contain at least three adjacent characters, including wildcard characters. You can place wildcards anywhere in the search string, and you can use multiple wildcards in a single word. A word to the wise: Use wildcards for unusual strings, such as names or variant forms of unusual words, and avoid strings such as *ed, *ing, or *and* like the plague.
HotBot searches are case-sensitive if any letter in the search string (that is, one or more) is capitalized. In such searches, results will match the search string letter for letter. On the other hand, if all letters in the search string are lowercase, HotBot will ignore case (capitalization) in returning search results. Thus, a search for windows would also return pages containing "Windows" and "WINDOWS," whereas a search for Windows would return pages containing "Windows," but not "windows" or "WINDOWS." Hint: Before throwing your hands up in frustration, check your Caps Lock key.
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