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Tips for searching knowledge bases

Boolean operators

You can enter AND (default), OR, or NOT between search words and phrases to further define your search. You must use uppercase.

Experienced searchers may find AND, OR, NOT to be useful as shortcuts in a basic search.

In advanced searches of current questions or Service History, drop-down lists are available to select AND, OR, NOT.

In advanced searches of a knowledge base, various entry boxes take the place of AND (All box), OR (At Least One box), NOT (Without box).


if you enter: you find records that contain:
water air Both the word "water" and the word "air"
water AND air Both the word "water" and the word "air"
water OR air Either the word "water" or the word "air" or both words
water NOT air The word "water" but not the word "air"
air NOT water The word "air" but not the word "water"

Fuzzy searches

You can use fuzzy searches to find records that contain words that are spelled similarly to your search word.

Do not use fuzzy searches in phrase searches because fuzzy-search logic cannot be applied to phrases.

Fuzzy search characters

Type ~ (tilde) at the end of a search word to request a fuzzy search.

Type a decimal number (0.3 through 0.9) after the ~ (tilde) to further specify a fuzzy search. The higher the number, the higher the similarity of the spelling of the words found; 0.5 is the default number.


if you type: questionpoint finds records that contain:


Words such as:

capital, decimal, diagonal, digilib, digiref, digit, digital, digitale, digitally, digitize, digits, dignitary, dignity, distal, diurnal, initial, logical, magical, marital, orbital, original, pivotal, virginal
digital~0.3 The same words as for digital~ and additional words, such as:

arrival, critical, digest, social, visitable
digital~0.7 Only words spelled highly similarly to digital, such as:

digital, digitale

Wildcards and truncation

You can use wildcards in search words and truncation at the end of search words to include word variations in your search.

Do not use wildcards and truncation in phrase searches.

Wildcard and truncation characters

* (asterisk) represents any string of characters.

? (question mark) represents any single character.


if you type: questionPoint searches for words such as:
col*r colder
col?r color
col??r colder
librar* librarian
librar? library

What should I do if my KB search finds no/few records?

Consider the following suggestions when you revise a KB search that found no records or too few records.

Basic search

Suggestions for revising a basic search that found no records or too few records:

  • Type OR between search words (OR must be uppercase)
  • Do not use exact phrases
  • Consider using other search words that might find the information you need
  • Use wildcards or truncation
  • Include any local KBs and the global KB

Advanced search

Suggestions for revising an advanced search that found no records or too few records:

  • Use fewer search words in the "with all of the words" box
  • Use more search words in the "with at least one of the words" box
  • Do not use the "with the exact phrase" box
  • Consider using other search words that might find the information you need
  • Use wildcards or truncation
  • Include any local KBs and the global KB
  • Use the default values in the Limit Results To boxes

Tips for searching KBs for French content

When questions in the various languages supported by QuestionPoint are indexed, the indexing rules may vary from language to language. The search engine used by QuestionPoint includes many "analyzers" that are specific to a language. Usually developed by linguists native to the language, they attempt to make searching in that language simple and intuitive for the lay person.

The French analyzer, in particular, has been developed with the lay person in mind and may not always treat terms in the way experienced bibliographic searchers expect. Here are some tips for searching if you use the French interface of QuestionPoint:

  • A search term typed in lowercase only or in uppercase and lowercase is converted to its stem for indexing and searching. So the search term gallica (or Gallica) searches for words with the stem gallic and finds terms such as gallica and gallicismes when searching for French content. When not searching for French content, only words that match the stem exactly are found. So only English records containing the word gallic or Gallic would be found.
  • However, terms that are in uppercase only are excluded from the stemming process during indexing and searching. So, to search for French questions that contain the word GALLICA, use the search term GALLICA, which will find terms such as gallica or Gallica or GALLICA but would not find terms such as gallicismes.
  • A search term typed with an * (asterisk) uses truncation to find all words that begin with the letters typed, regardless of case. So gallic* (or Gallic* or GALLIC*) searches for words that begin with gallic and finds terms such as gallica and gallicismes. It also finds terms, such as, that are part of a URL.

When searching in any language, you can exclude diacritics when you type search terms. Words are indexed without diacritics, and diacritics typed in a search term are ignored. Diacritics have no effect on search results.


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