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Math Forum: Search Features

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Back to the Search Form || What Gets Searched? || Search Tips and Tricks || Help Desk
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  • Spell-checking. Our searcher checks your search terms against a dictionary of math terms and names ranging from the commonplace ('algebra', 'theorem') to the obscure ('Brahmagupta', 'frustum'). While our searcher can't catch every misspelling and typo, it does a pretty good job of detecting most errors.

  • Key-word analysis. Our searcher analyzes your keywords and will sometimes modify them or suggest modifications to make your search more effective. For example, common words such as 'a', 'the', and 'of' are removed from your keywords, since these words appear in nearly every page on the site. If you query 'chaos and fractals', or '+chaos +fractals', our searcher will remind you that, to search for pages containing both the words 'chaos' and 'fractals', it suffices to enter simply 'chaos fractals' in the keyword field, and make sure the 'all, in any order' option is selected.

  • Starting points. To help point more quickly to the pages we think you're looking for, our searcher sometimes recommends starting points instead of performing a full search of the entire Math Forum. For example, searching for 'i' now points to a relevant starting point, a Dr. Math FAQ on imaginary numbers, instead of displaying the hundreds of returns that would result from a full site search. Starting points are also intended to help you navigate our site. For example, searching for 'geopow' gives a starting point to the Math Forum's 'Geometry Problem of the Week' and searching for 'dr. math' gives a starting point for the Math Forum's 'Ask Dr. Math' question and answer service. You still have the option of performing a full site search if you want more than the starting points returned.

  • Search again: The results page now has a form at the bottom that lets you compose another search without having to go back a page. If you want to go back to the original search page you can still use the browser's Back button or click on the Search link in the bottom menu bar on every Forum page.

  • Use other Internet Searchers: From either the main search page or the results page you can also send your keywords to major web search engines, such as Google, AltaVista, MetaCrawler, and Yahoo.

  • Credits and Appreciation: We'd like to thank the folks working on the Glimpse search engine and also those who developed Htgrep. We've learned from both and we're currently using Glimpse in combination with our own search technology.

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