The White House


Refining a Search
It's easy to refine a query to get precisely the results you want. Here are some effective techniques to try:

Identify a phrase.

Before:home run records
After:"home run" records
The before query is ambiguous. Is it looking for the home page of songs like "Born to Run" or baseball statistics? Identifying "home run" as a phrase eliminates the ambiguity. This is the most powerful query refinement technique.

Add a discriminating word or a phrase.

Before:"home run" records
After:"home run" records baseball
As before, the before query is ambiguous. Adding baseball makes the query less ambiguous. You'll get more total matches (because the query is broadened with an additional term), but the relevance ranking will be better.

Capitalize when appropriate.

Before:white house, grant, first lady, george w. bush
After:White House, Grant, First Lady, George W. Bush
These examples, when all lower case, have a variety of possible interpretations. For example, without capitalization, grant could refer to financial grants and not Ulysses S. Grant, eighteenth President of the United States. Capitalization reduces the ambiguity. It is always a good idea to capitalize proper names.

Use a require or reject operator (+,-).

After:Roosevelt, -Theodore +Franklin
Roosevelt alone is ambiguous. It it looking for information on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or President Theodore Roosevelt? You can use the reject operator (the "minus" sign) to eliminate the Theodore Roosevelt interpretation. Or, you can require that the word "Franklin" be in the document. The after version above does both.

Use a field specifier.

Before:President Bush to Visit Spain
After:title:President Bush to Visit Spain
If you are looking for a particular page that you know the title, use the title: field specifier to search for that the word or phrase in the title of the page. See Special Searches for more information on field specifiers.



Quick Tips and Examples
Refining a Search
Special Searches
Requiring or Excluding Terms
Search Syntax Summary
Searching by Document Type