- 1 Searching with Google
- 2 OLPC search
- 3 External search engines
- 4 Browser specific help
- 5 If you cannot find an appropriate page on OLPC
Searching with Google
Google searches can be customized to search individual websites. You can use the following links to search just OLPC websites:
Template:HelpTOC 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.
Here are few good tips and hints for using the OLPC search feature effectively:
- Any word: OLPC's default search mode will turn up results with any of the words in your query. For instance, search engine turns up many results containing only "search" but not "engine" or only "engine" but not "search" in addition to the ones you probably wanted, which contain both words.
- 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. Historically, these words could not be searched at all, but as of February 2006, OLPC's Lucene index does not use "stop words", so any word can be successfully used in search queries.
You can use some limited wildcards if you really want to. Look up "fulltext search" on http://www.mysql.com/ and look down under 'boolean search' for the details. However, wildcard searches are slower, so go easy on the poor server.
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. See also OLPCWiki:Special characters.
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. See the manual of style for more info.
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.
The source text is searched
The source text (what one sees in the edit box, also called wiki text) is searched. This distinction is relevant for piped links, for OLPCWiki:interlanguage links (to find links to Chinese articles, search for zh, not for Zhongwen), special characters (if ê is coded as ê it is found searching for ecirc), etc.
Delay in updating the search index
For reasons of efficiency and priority, very recent changes are not always immediately taken into account in searches.
External search engines
Various search engines can provide domain-specific searches, which lets you search OLPC specifically. Searches are based on the text as shown by the browser, so wiki markup is irrelevant. Depending on your browser, you may also be able to use tools that allow you to search OLPC using bookmarklets.
In general, external search engines are faster than a OLPC search. However, because the search engine's cache is based on when the site was indexed, the search may not return newly created pages. Similarly, the search engine's cached version of the page will not be as up-to-date as the link to OLPC itself. Also, when returning OLPC articles in a regular search, mirrors and forks of OLPC content frequently rank higher than the actual OLPC articles because of search engine optimization techniques.
These issues may be less of a problem when using certain search engines that process OLPC differently:
By following the links below, you can use the Google search engine to search OLPC - either all languages, or English-only. Google indexes all namespaces.
Here are more OLPC:Tools which make searching more convenient.
Browser specific help
Using Mozilla to automatically search
If you cannot find an appropriate page on OLPC
If there is no appropriate page on OLPC, consider creating a page, since you can edit OLPC right now. Or consider adding what you were looking for to the Requested articles page. Or if you have a question, then see Where to ask questions, which is a list of departments where our volunteers answer questions, any question you can possibly imagine.