This article provides an overview of Wikiversity's search feature, and instructions on using external search engines, such as Google, to find information.
Here are some really helpful tips and hints for using the Wikiversity search feature effectively:
Avoid short and common words
If your search terms include a common "stop word" (such as "the", "your", "more", "right", "while", "when", "who", "which", "such", "every", "about") it may give a large number of non-relevant results.
You can use limited wildcards if you really want to. See Boolean fulltext search for details on their use. 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.
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.
An apostrophe is identical to a single quote, therefore the name Mu'ammar can be found only by searching for exactly that (and not otherwise). A word with 's is an exception in that it can be found also by 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 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.
Multi-lingual Wikiversity search
- You can do a multi-lingual Wikiversity search using Google Advanced Search or entering
site:.wikiversity.orgin the Google search box.
- Lumrix: AJAX driven Wikipedia search engine. Supports other languages such as German, Spanish, or French.
- Qwika has indexes for larger Wikipedias, but not yet for Wikiversity.
External search engines
Various search engines can provide domain-specific searches, which lets you search Wikipedia 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 Wikipedia using bookmarklets.
In general, external search engines are faster than a Wikiversity 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 Wikiversity itself. A search engine may also return results from a Wikiversity mirror (if such a thing ever exists).
By following the links below, you can use the Google search engine to search Wikiversity - either all languages, or English-only. Google indexes all namespaces.
If you frequently search via Google, consider installing the Google Toolbar. Using the "search this site" button allows you to quickly search the English version of Wikiversity. The official Google Toolbar is for Internet Explorer (Windows and Mac) and for Firefox (works on all operating system platforms for which Firefox is available, such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X).
Wikiversity markup allows you to insert links to Google searches by including
google: as the prefix for the link. This can be useful on talk pages, and sometimes in External link sections. It is done like this:
Which looks like this:
Note: It is important not to use spaces in the search. To add more parameters to the search, separate them by a plus sign, +. For a phrase search, use a hyphen (minus sign), -, between each word. E.g. to search for
"Tip of the day", use
To provide a link to a Wikiversity-specific search, include in the google-link
+site:en.wikiversity.org (no spaces before or after), like this:
Which looks like this:
To clean up the link so that only the part you want to show is presented, use the pipe, like this:
[[google:Tipster+site:en.wikiversity.org|"Tip of the day"]]
Which makes it look like this:
There is a full-featured advanced search engine at Lycos UK. It is more powerful than Wikiversity's search box, and you can limit searches to a specific URL, such as the Wikiversity website. Here's how. Click on the provided link above, and then enter your search term. Then scroll down to the domain section and add "wikiversity.org" in the box provided. Then click "Go".
By following the links below, you can use the Yahoo! search engine to search Wikipedia - either all languages or English-only.
If you frequently search via Yahoo!, consider installing the Yahoo! Companion Toolbar. Using the "Search Only the Current Site" button allows you to quickly search the English version of Wikiversity. The official Yahoo! Companion Toolbar is only for Windows with Internet Explorer and Mozilla.
Some Browsers allow you to customize your searches and add new search providers. Firefox, for example, has a feature called "quick searches" where a search can be carried out by prefixing a special code to the search term. To search English Wikipedia for "foo", you would write "wp foo" and Firefox should go to w:Special:Search?search=Foo. You can also define your own quick search for Wikiversity by creating a new bookmark in the Quick Searches section of your bookmarks list. Choose any shortcut of your liking (perhaps "wv") and use http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=%s as the location. Now you can search for a Wikiversity page by entering "wv foo" and the browser should take you to Special:Search?search=Foo.
If you cannot find an appropriate page on Wikiversity
If there is no appropriate page on Wikiversity, consider creating a page, since you can edit Wikiversity right now. Or consider adding what you were looking for on Wikiversity:Page creation requests. Or if you have a question, then see the help desk, where our volunteers answer questions, any question you can possibly imagine.
- Help:Preferences, changing your search result settings