Hide

Using the GENUKI search engine

hide
Hide

          Help and Guidance 2020: Modified Page: Version 1.1

Hide

Introduction


There is some guidance on simple searches of GENUKI here. This page gives more detail on how the search engine works and how to do more complex searches. 

Using search


At the top of every page we provide a means of searching our site. We use similar software to that used by the major search engines and so you specify searches in a similar manner.  We use Apache Solr (also known as Lucene) which tends to be the term used to describe it in online Drupal documentation.

To perform a basic search you just type a word in the search box, such as  lytham  and click the Search button. This will generate a page showing you all the pages that contain lytham.  On the right of the page you will see some filters that can be used to refine your search. We have different types of web page to handle different types of content. You can choose one particular type by clicking that line in the filter, so to just see place pages containing  Lytham  click  Place. The second filter lets you choose a traditional county.

The results to expect


The searches do not just search for specific strings but return similar items. So if your search word is singular it will also find the plural matches as well. It also uses "stemming" so that if you search for Phil it will also find results containing Philip This means that you don't have to think of all the possible spellings. However it does mean that you cannot just search for a specific spelling.

Terms


A query is broken up into terms and operators. There are two types of terms: Single Terms and Phrases.

A Single Term is a single word such as "test" or "hello".

A Phrase is a group of words surrounded by double quotes such as "hello dolly".

Multiple terms can be combined together with Boolean operators to form a more complex query (see below).

Term Modifiers

Lucene supports modifying query terms to provide a wide range of searching options.

Wildcard Searches

Lucene supports single and multiple character wildcard searches within single terms (not within phrase queries).

To perform a single character wildcard search use the "?" symbol.

To perform a multiple character wildcard search use the "*" symbol.

The single character wildcard search looks for terms that match that with the single character replaced. For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search:

te?t

Multiple character wildcard searches looks for 0 or more characters. For example, to search for test, tests or tester, you can use the search:

test*

You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term.

te*t

Note: You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

Fuzzy Searches

Lucene supports fuzzy searches based on the Levenshtein Distance, or Edit Distance algorithm. To do a fuzzy search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Single word Term. For example to search for a term similar in spelling to "roam" use the fuzzy search:

roam~

This search will find terms like foam and roams.

An additional (optional) parameter can specify the required similarity. The value is between 0 and 1, with a value closer to 1 only terms with a higher similarity will be matched. For example:

roam~0.8

The default that is used if the parameter is not given is 0.5.

Proximity Searches

Lucene supports finding words are a within a specific distance away. To do a proximity search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Phrase. For example to search for a "apache" and "jakarta" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search:

"jakarta apache"~10

Boosting a Term

Lucene provides the relevance level of matching documents based on the terms found. To boost a term use the caret, "^", symbol with a boost factor (a number) at the end of the term you are searching. The higher the boost factor, the more relevant the term will be.

Boosting allows you to control the relevance of a document by boosting its term. For example, if you are searching for

jakarta apache

and you want the term "jakarta" to be more relevant boost it using the ^ symbol along with the boost factor next to the term. You would type:

jakarta^4 apache

This will make documents with the term jakarta appear more relevant. You can also boost Phrase Terms as in the example:

"jakarta apache"^4 "Apache Lucene"

By default, the boost factor is 1. Although the boost factor must be positive, it can be less than 1 (e.g. 0.2)

Boolean Operators


Boolean operators allow terms to be combined through logic operators. Lucene supports AND, "+", OR, NOT and "-" as Boolean operators (Note: Boolean operators must be ALL CAPS).

OR

The OR operator is the default conjunction operator. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the OR operator is used. The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching document if either of the terms exist in a document. This is equivalent to a union using sets. The symbol || can be used in place of the word OR.

To search for documents that contain either "jakarta apache" or just "jakarta" use the query:

"jakarta apache" jakarta

or

"jakarta apache" OR jakarta

AND

The AND operator matches documents where both terms exist anywhere in the text of a single document. This is equivalent to an intersection using sets. The symbol && can be used in place of the word AND.

To search for documents that contain "jakarta apache" and "Apache Lucene" use the query:

"jakarta apache" AND "Apache Lucene"

+

The "+" or required operator requires that the term after the "+" symbol exist somewhere in a the field of a single document.

To search for documents that must contain "jakarta" and may contain "lucene" use the query:

+jakarta lucene 

NOT

The NOT operator excludes documents that contain the term after NOT. This is equivalent to a difference using sets. The symbol ! can be used in place of the word NOT.

To search for documents that contain "jakarta apache" but not "Apache Lucene" use the query:

"jakarta apache" NOT "Apache Lucene"

Note: The NOT operator cannot be used with just one term. For example, the following search will return no results:

NOT "jakarta apache"

-

The "-" or prohibit operator excludes documents that contain the term after the "-" symbol.

To search for documents that contain "jakarta apache" but not "Apache Lucene" use the query:

"jakarta apache" -"Apache Lucene"

Grouping


Lucene supports using parentheses to group clauses to form sub queries. This can be very useful if you want to control the boolean logic for a query.

To search for either "jakarta" or "apache" and "website" use the query:

(jakarta OR apache) AND website

This eliminates any confusion and makes sure you that website must exist and either term jakarta or apache may exist.

Escaping Special Characters


Lucene supports escaping special characters that are part of the query syntax. The current list special characters are

+ - && || ! ( ) { } [ ] ^ " ~ * ? : \

To escape these character use the \ before the character. For example to search for (1+1):2 use the query:

\(1\+1\)\:2