Searching

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This article provides an overview of OWASP's search feature.

Contents

search

Put your text in the searchbox; it provides an input field with two buttons:

  • Go - the Go button (or Enter on the keyboard), will take you automatically to the best match for the entered keyword.
  • Search - the Search button will return a list of matching results.

Effective searching

Here are few good tips and hints for using the search feature effectively:

Limiting results

  • Any word: The default search mode will turn up results with any of the words in your query.
  • All words: To limit to results that include all words, put a "+" at the beginning of each word: +search +engine returns only pages containing both words, like Google's default mode. You can also do a phrase search by enclosing words in quotes: "search engine"] turns up a smaller set of results, which not only have both words but have them in order.
  • Exclude words: To exclude results that include some words, put a "-" at the beginning: search -engine]

Boolean search is also possible, using words including "AND", "OR", and "NOT".

Avoid short and common words

If your search terms include a common "stop word" (such as "the", "one", "your", "more", "right", "while", "when", "who", "which", "such", "every", "about") it may give a large number of non-relevant results.

Words with special characters

In a search for a word with a diaeresis, such as Sint Odiliënberg, it depends whether this ë is stored as one character or as "ë". In the first case one can simply search for Odilienberg (or Odiliënberg); in the second case it can only be found by searching for Odili, euml and/or nberg. This is actually a bug that should be fixed -- the entities should be folded into their raw character equivalents so all searches on them are equivalent.

Words in single quotes

If a word appears in an article with single quotes, you can only find it if you search for the word with quotes. Since this is rarely desirable it is better to use double quotes in articles, for which this problem does not arise.

An apostrophe is identical to a single quote, therefore Mu'ammar can be found searching for exactly that (and not otherwise). A word with apostrophe s is an exception in that it can be found also searching for the word without the apostrophe and the s.

Namespaces searched by default

The search only applies to the namespaces selected in the user's preferences. To search the other namespaces check or uncheck the tickboxes in "Search in namespaces" box found at the bottom of a search results page. Depending on the browser, a box may still be checked from a previous search, but without being effective any longer! To make sure, uncheck and recheck it.

Searching the image namespace means searching the image descriptions, i.e. the first parts of the image description pages.

Delay in updating the search index

For reasons of efficiency and priority, very recent changes are not always immediately taken into account in searches.

Searching the page history

To search the text that appears only in the page history, you must export the text to XML format first.