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New search engine

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Simon Hampel, 12 Feb 2013.

  1. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

    18 Oct 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    I've enabled a new type of search facility on the forums - something built in to the database server which is faster and more effective than the search we previously had available.

    Note that this only impacts on the forum search box at the top of the page (or on the advanced search page - ZooChat - Search Forums) ... it does not affect the Google custom search box in the sidebar, which may give you better results, depending on the nature of your query.

    You can now use natural language search and boolean search terms (AND, OR, NOT) to help you refine your searches.

    Natural language allows you to include all the joining words you'd normally use in a sentence, but which would cause the old search to complain and give no results. For example, you can now use search phrases such as "zoos with elephants in Australia", and it will just ignore common words rather than stop and complain like the old search would have.

    Boolean search allows you to be more explicit about what results you want.

    AND means both terms must be in the results, example search: "elephants AND zebras" will match only threads (or posts) which contain both terms

    OR means one or the other, so "elephants OR zebras" will match any thread which mentions elephants or any thread which mentions zebras (or both)

    NOT of course, excludes terms, so "elephants NOT zebras" will only match threads or posts which contain the term elephants, but which also do not contain the term zebras.

    You can already do similar searches using Google, but the Google search doesn't easily allow you to filter search results by threads or posts or by user or by forum and so on, nor does it display results in a forum-friendly way with details of who posted it and so on ... so it can be worth using the built-in search instead of the Google search sometimes.

    I hope you find this new search useful.

    PS. when I finally get to do the big migration to the new version of ZooChat later this year, I will be implementing an even better search engine which from what I've heard from other people, works really well and will be a huge improvement on what we have now.