Searching in AskAlexander is simple: just type in what you're interested in, hit Enter, and Alex will search its library for content that is relevant to your search.
Some basic facts
- Searches are always case insensitive. Searching for "Ed Marlo" is the same as searching for "ed marlo".
- Punctuation is generally ignored.
- Searching for more than one word displays pages that include all the words
The search results are designed to make it easy to find exactly what you're interested in.
- The search results within each document show the page number and references to the searched words.
- Clicking the page number or reference displays the page.
- The yellow highlight indicates that last page you visited. In this case, the last visited page was Marlo's list of Top 20 Card Stars in the U.S.A.
- The number of results is dependent on your membership level and active subscriptions.
The top of the Search Results page (not shown) shows that 828 matching pages were found in this example. To see more matches, click NEXT or jump to a specific results page by clicking on a number.
Most searches can be done by simply entering the search terms, but sometimes you want a little more power. For this, you will need the Advanced Search Page, which can be accessed by clicking on the link below the basic search box.
Using the Advanced Search Page
The basic search will handle 95% of your search needs and the search operators add the power to refine your search results. The Advanced Search page simply exposes the search operators you already know in a simple way.
This page also makes it easy to experiment and learn the syntax of the advanced search options. Type search words into the appropriate fields and Alex generate the equivalent basic search into the Your generated search query field.
Advanced Search Options
- Phrase search ("")
Putting double quotes around a set of words tells Alex to search for those words in the exact order without any change. Putting words in quotes will narrow your search results, but perhaps in unexpected ways. For example, searching for "Thomas Nelson Downs" will miss pages that only reference "Thomas Downs".
- Excluding terms (-)
Prepending a minus sign immediately before a word indicates that you do not want pages that contain that word to appear in your results. The minus sign should be preceded by a space and appear immediately before the word to be excluded. The minus sign can exclude more than one word by combining it with the phrase operator. For example, -"louis b tannen".
- The OR operator (|)
Searches include all words by default. If you want to allow either one of several words, you can use the OR operator. For example, ed | edward | eddie marlo will return results that contain any of Marlo's first names and include his last name.
Alexander knows more about each document than just the words they contain -- it can search for items by their title, author, etc.
- @author name
Items written by name. Use marlo @author racherbaumer to find references to Marlo in Jon Racherbaumer's writings.
- @title title
Items with the title or sub-title containing name
- @date start_date end_date
Items published in the period specified. A date of - means either the beginning of time or today, depending on whether its used for start or end date respectively. Start and end date must be in the format: mm/dd/yyyy.
- @added start_date end_date
Items add to the Alexander online library in the period specified. A date of - means either the beginning of time or today, depending on whether its used for start or end date respectively. Start and end date must be in the format: mm/dd/yyyy.
- @lang language
Search for items written in language.
Caveat: language support is under development. Not all media is correctly cataloged by language and each document can have only a single language assigned. Both of these deficiencies will be addressed in an upcoming release.
- @body text
@body searches the contents of a document. Searching the contents of the document is the default so you'll probably never, ever use this. It's included here merely for the edification of the adventurous or completist searchers amongst us.
Metadata searching is a powerful capability and one that we'll expand with more attributes in time.