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TIP: If you plan on making multiple queries, you might wish to bookmark this page.


Making Queries

This is 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, this system will search for documents that are a best match for the words in your query. It will also search for documents that are about the same concepts that your query describes, so sometimes your search 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 the search figure out what concepts you're really interested in. On the other hand, this search 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 Economic Policy. A good starting point would be

        economic policy 
If you have a question about a particular aspect of economic policy, for example the International Monetary Fund in Uganda, you might choose a query like

        economic policy at the UN International Monetary Fund in Uganda
Even if there are no documents that are actually about Uganda, the search will still show you documents about economic policy International Monetary Fund.

Advanced Query Tips

Here are some suggestions for getting the best results out of the search.

Only use words that are relevant to your query
If you're looking for documents about economic policy, don't enter a query like "Find me all documents about economic policy". The seacrh 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 economic policy, which may not be exactly what you want.

Specify multiple forms of the same phrases
The search distinguishes between hyphenated and un-hyphenated words. So, sometimes it might be necessary to explicitly say that you want both versions, for example "SecretaryGeneral Secretary-General".

Common words are ignored
The search doesn't index common words like a, and, or the. Consequently, those words in your query will be ignored. The search also ignores numbers; however, it can find strings that happen to contain a number, for example P5.


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