How to search the Wiki

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One of the topics that frequently arises with the Wiki is how to find things on it. The "search" box on the left hand side navigation menu either returns nothing of pertinence or so many articles that the one you are looking for is difficult to ascertain. The purpose of this Wiki page is to give you both some hints on how to search, or to give you some other ways to find what you may be looking for.

Using the Search feature in the Navigation Menu

If you look closely at the Search box on the navigation menu you will see some search tips directly above it. These tips are an explanation of the two buttons directly below the box where you enter your search terms.

  • Pressing "Go" links directly to a page which has the exact term you are searching for as its title. If there is no page with this exact title, then the results are displayed as if you had tried to "Search" for that page
  • Using the <Enter key> is the same as pressing "Go"
  • Pressing the "Search" key displays the search results

The search results display first any page which has the word(s) you are looking for in the Title of the page, followed by those pages which contain the word(s) you are looking for in the text of the page. However, there are some significant differences between the Wiki search function and the search function of Google which you may be more familiar with.

  • The Google search ranks pages according to a complex (proprietary) algorithm which tries to determine the relevance of the resulting page to the word/phrase you are searching for. The Wiki search has no such algorithm so results are on no particular order.
  • The Wiki search only looks at Wiki pages, not at the contents of any attached files (document, spreadsheets, pdf's, etc.)

Using Google search feature

If you prefer using Google's proprietary search feature, you can. All the public pages of the AFS Wiki are also available to Google's web page scanner as well as any documents attached to these public pages. While any Google search will include the AFS Wiki in its search results, you can also restrict Google to searching just the AFS Wiki. In order to do this, add the following term anywhere into your Google search

  • Site:afswiki.org

This will return the results of a Google search of the public pages of the AFS Wiki as well as any attached documents, all ranked according to Google's proprietary ranking system. Simply clicking on any of the results will take you to the appropriate page in the Wiki

Searching using Categories

Over the past year or so we have been making an effort to tag all the pages in the AFS Wiki with one or more "Category" tags. The Category feature in the Wiki is a way of collecting all pages about a particular topic so that one can get a list of those pages easily. While some of these categories are being used by the Wiki administrators to assist them in their job of maintaining the Wiki, others are specifically for making looking for all related pages easier. To look at any category lists, simply enter "Category:xxx" in the Go/Search field (where "xxx" is the category you are looking for) and press "Go" or <enter>. Here are some useful categories:

For a complete list of the available categories you can go to the special:categories page.

If there are categories of pages that you would find useful that you do not see in the above list of categories, please let us know by sending a message to wikihelp@afsusa.org

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