Phrases are strings of words enclosed in quotation marks. For the purposes of
searching, phrases are treated as a single word. A query for "search
engine" returns document with the exact phrase search engine
appearing in the text. The query search engine would instead return
all documents containing both words but not necessarily together in that order.
Using AND to separate search terms returns documents containing both words or
phrases. For example, sticks AND stones finds documents with both the word
sticks and the word stones. If you do not specify any Boolean
operator between words, AND is assumed. Thus, bread butter is equivalent
to bread AND butter. For engines that do not support Boolean expressions
but support +/- to include/exclude terms, the query would be reformatted
to +bread +butter.
Using OR to separate search terms returns documents containing either of the
words or phrases. For example, truth OR consequences finds any documents
with the word truth or the word consequences. Some engines do
not support mixed use of AND and OR in a single query. Cyber411 works around
these limitations to give the best possible query in these cases.
NOT is used to exclude a word or phrase from the search results. The query dinosaur
AND NOT Barney tries to remove references to dinosaurs of the purple
singing variety. Because the keyword AND is inferred, you could also use
dinosaur NOT Barney. For engines using inclusion/exclusion rules this
query converts to +dinosaur -Barney. Some engines do not support term
exclusion at all. In these cases, the word or phrase is simply removed from
NEAR is a keyword that few engines support. It is used to return documents
that not only contain both terms but specifically documents where one term
is within 10 to 25 words of the other (depending on the engine). AND will be
substituted for the keyword NEAR for the engines that do not support it.
Parenthesis may be used to construct a more complicated Boolean expression.
For example, (cherry OR apple) NEAR (pie OR cobbler) AND recipe may
provide just the right information for the person with a sweet tooth. You
may nest parenthesis as much as you like to create as complicated of a query
as you like. Just remember that very complicated queries are likely to
provide a very limited set of results and will probably be of limited use on
engines which have only basic query mechanisms.