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This page will help you to use the search tool on this
website. It introduces basic search concepts, and describes
advanced techniques that produce more efficient search results.
Getting started with search
To search for a document, type a few descriptive words in the
search box, and press the Enter key or click
the magnifying glass icon. A results page appears with a list
of documents and web pages that are related to your search terms,
with the most relevant search results appearing at the top of the
page. By default, only pages that include all of your search terms
are returned. So to broaden or restrict the search, include fewer
or more terms. You do not need to include "and" between the
The search appliance uses sophisticated text-matching techniques
to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search.
For instance, the search appliance analyses not only the candidate
page, but also the pages that link to it, too. The search appliance
also prefers pages in which your query terms are near each other.
Every search result lists one or more snippets, or excerpts from
the document, to display the search terms in context. In the
snippet, your search terms are displayed in bold text so that you
can quickly determine if that result is from a page or document you
want to visit.
For searches in some languages, a single spelling suggestion is
returned with the results for queries where the spell checker has
detected a possible spelling mistake.
The spell checker feature is context sensitive.
Your browser's language setting affects how the search appliance
handles spelling corrections.
For information about how to change your browser's language
setting, read the help system for the browser.
The search appliance searches are not case sensitive. All
letters, regardless of how you enter them, are handled as lower
case. For example, searches for "council tax," "council Tax," and
"Council tax" return the same results.
Because they tend to slow down your search
without improving the results, the search appliance ignores some
- Common words and characters, such as "where" and "how," when
they are used in conjunction with other search terms
For example, if you search for "who," the search appliance does
not ignore it. The search appliance returns results for "who."
However, if you search for "Councillor who," the search appliance
does ignore "who" and only returns results for "Councillor."
- Certain single digits and single letters
If a common word is essential to getting the results you want,
you can include it by putting a plus ("+") sign in front of it.
Include a space before the "+" sign, but not after it.
By default, search results are sorted by relevance, with the
most relevant result appearing at the top of the page. If you want
to sort the documents by date instead, click the Sort by Date link.
The most recent document appears at the top of the page and the
date of each file is returned in the results. Results that do not
contain dates are displayed at the end and are sorted by
When you search for numbers, do not use exponential numbers,
such as "1e10," or negative integers, such as "-12."
Numbers that are separated by commas are treated as separate
figures, not fractional numbers; that is, the comma is treated as a
term separator, not a decimal separator. For example, if you type
"3,75", the search query is treated as a search for two separate
terms, "3" and "75", not the decimal fraction, "three and three
quarters." Commas that separate every three digits are ignored and
are not necessary. For example, both "10,000" and "10000" are
Widening your search
You can expand your search by using the
ORoperator. To retrieve pages that include either
word A or word B, use an uppercase OR between
Refining your search
Since the search appliance returns only web pages that contain
all of the words in your query, refining or narrowing your search
is as simple as adding more words to the search terms you have
already entered. The refined query returns a subset of the pages
that were returned by your original broad query. If that does not
get the results that you want, you can try to exclude words, search
for exact phrases, or restrict the search to a range of numbers.
These techniques are described in the following subsections.
If your search term has more than one meaning, you can focus
your search by adding a minus sign ("-") in front of words related
to the meaning you want to avoid. Make sure you include a space
before the minus sign. You can daisy chain a list of words you want
Phrase searches are useful when you are searching for famous
sayings or specific names. You can search for an exact phrase or
name in the following ways:
- By enclosing the phrase in quotation marks. The search
appliance only returns documents that include the exact phrase you
- By using phrase connectors—such as hyphens, slashes,
periods, equal signs, and apostrophes—in between every word of your
Phrase connectors and quotation marks join your search words as
a single unit.
You can confine your search query within a certain range. You
can set ranges for dates, weights, prices, meta tags, and so on.
The following subsections describe ways you can refine your
searches with ranges.
You can search for documents that contain dates that fall within
a time frame. To use date range search, type all of the
- The search term
- The daterange: operator
- The start date
- The range separator (which is two periods if you are
using a YYYY-MM-DD format)
- The end date
Do not add a space between the search operator and the date
Metadata and meta tag ranges
You can search only for documents that include metadata or meta
tags that contain numbers within the range you specified. To use
metadata range search, type all of the following:
- The search term
- The inmeta: operator
- The name of metadata or meta tag
- The range of numbers separated by two periods
For accurate date range searches with inmeta
the meta tag content must contain only the date and no other data.
Suppose your documents have metadata called "modified" that
contains the last modified dates of the documents.
Advanced search operators
The search appliance supports several advanced operators, which
are query words that restricts your search to a smaller set of
documents. Find out how to use advanced search operators at