Simple searches find entries that include all of the search terms. Search results are ranked and displayed 25 sites at a time. The sites that are displayed are grouped by their category. For example, a search on:
C++will return all the sites that have the word C++ in them.
Searches with multiple terms will automatically insert an "and" between all the terms, so that only sites with all of the search words in them will be returned. For example, a search on
golf clubswill only return sites that have both golf and clubs in the sites name and description. Sites on "tennis clubs" or "golf balls" will not be displayed (unless they also mention golf and clubs).
Sometimes the order of the search terms matters. Using phrase searching can greatly reduce the number of sites that are matched by a search. For example if you searched for:
"Tour de France"You would only get sites that had the three words: tour, de and France in them in that order.
All searches use and as the default linking operator between all of the search terms. Thus searching for
red herringis the same as searching for:
red and herringFor both of these searches, only those sites with "red" and "herring" in the site name or description will be returned. Sites that only mention "red" but not "herring" will not be displayed. To get sites with either "red" or "herring" use the keyword or. See the next section on using boolean operators.
There are several boolean operators to choose from, they are: or, and, and andnot. Terms linked by the and operator will return only those sites that match all of the search terms linked by the and operator. This is the default, if you don't use any boolean operators, then only those sites that contain at least one occurrence of each search term will be returned..
Terms linked by the or operator will return those sites that match any of the search terms linked by or. For example:
grey or gray and parrot
Terms linked by the andnot operator will exclude all sites that match the search term following the andnot. For example:
random andnot housewill find sites about randomness, but exclude sites about the publisher, Random House.
The search can do some limited wildcarding. Specificly, wildcard completion. This is useful when you are trying to match a term that may or may not be plural or might have one of several verb tenses. For example if you wanted to find sites that had to do with bicycling you might use the following search:
Bicycl*This would match sites on Bicycling, Bicycle, and Bicycles.
The search does not support arbitrary wildcards, so searches on "*cycling" or "Arch*ology" will not work.
You can limit your search to either the title, description, or URL of the site you are looking for. Just prefix your search term with "t:" to search titles, "d:" to search descriptions, and "u:" to search the url. For example to search for the occurance of the word "bicycling" in the URL of a site use the following search:
Shorthand Search Terms
You can prefix search terms with "-" and "+" to force the exclusion or inclusion of that term. This is really just shorthand for using the andnot and and boolean operators.
The following example will return all the sites on baseball, except those that mention "umpire."
Note: You cannot begin a search with a "-" term. You must put some other search term first.
You can mix and match the above search methods to create very complex searches. This search will return all sites on Lego trains, but exclude all the links that mention Duplo:
lego train* andnot duplo
This search will find references to racing, except those that are about racing cars or motorcycles.
racing -auto -car -motorcycle -road -nascar
Alternate Search Engines
You can query alternate search engines while only having to type your query once. While browsing and searching, a list of alternative search engines appears at the bottom of each page. Clicking on one of the links will forward your query to another search engine so you don't have to type it again.
This makes DMOZ a good place to start. You can navigate the Directory to find sites of interest and easily search other directories on the web too.