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Knowledgebase Search

Knowledgebase contains a number of powerful search types and options. Your Knowledgebase administrator has determined which types to make available in your portal, therefore, you may not have access to everything discussed here.

Note: where the word Articles is used, it refers to scenarios that affect Article specific results, for example, Search Filters apply to Articles only. When the term items is used, content speaks about search results in general which can contain FAQs, Solution Finders, Glossary terms, Forums, as well as content from remote sites and repositories.

Search Types

Selecting a Search Type

Choose search types via select list on the portal home page. Your Knowledgebase administrator has determined which types are available in your portal; therefore, you may not have access to all the types shown below. A brief description of each type follows, and the descriptions are in order of most common use.

 

All Words

Each item returned in search results will contain all of the words in your search string.

Natural Language Search

Search Knowledgebase using a conversational style. For example; what is the most eco-friendly suv on the market? For the majority of situations, Natural Language will get more results than All Words, and fewer than Any Words, but perhaps more relevant because Knowledgebase is searching based on conceptual understanding rather than merely looking for words.

Exact Phrase

Each item returned in search results contains your search string. Order of words is important, Exact Phrase does not Stem nor does it consult the Stop List, so it is an excellent choice for scenarios where you know precisely what should be searched for.

Here is an example of the difference that Exact Phrase can make in search results:

Search Terms Search Type Results
What is an suv? All Words 1,450,000
What is an suv? Exact Phrase 16,700

Any Words

Each item returned in search results will contain at least one of the words in your search string.

Here is an example of the differences between All Words, Any Words, and Exact Phrase search results:

Search Terms Search Type Results
What is an suv? Any Words 20,560,000,000
What is an suv? All Words 1,450,000
What is an suv? Exact Phrase 16,700

Boolean (pronounced BOO-le-un)

Three operators manipulate the relationship of terms in a search string, often producing very specific results. The available operators are AND, NOT, and OR.

AND

Ensures items in search results contain the initial word, as well as all other words preceded by the AND operator; making the Boolean AND operator similar to an All Words search. For example, the search string suv AND hybrid ensures search results are likely to contain items about fuel saving vehicles, but not standard SUVs.

Here is an example of how AND logic affects the number of search results:

Search Terms Results
suv 87,000,000
hybrid 152,000,000
suv AND hybrid 10,800,000

NOT

Ensures items in the search results do not contain any word that is preceded by the NOT operator. For example, the search string suv NOT hybrid ensures search results are likely to contain items only about conventional SUVs.

Here is an example of how NOT logic affects the number of search results:

Search Terms Results
suv 87,000,000
hybrid 152,000,000
suv NOT hybrid 268,000

OR

Ensures items in the search results contain at least one word in your search string; making the Boolean OR operator similar to the Any Words search type.

Here is an example of how OR logic affects the number of search results:

Search Terms Results
suv 87,000,000
hybrid 152,000,000
suv OR hybrid 238,000,000

Note: There are times where the OR operator is very useful. For example, it can essentially account for synonyms. Some common examples; college or university, hospital or clinic, vacation or holiday.

Exact Keyword

Similar to Exact Phrase search, except this search type works only when an author has manually assigned your precise search string to one or more Articles in the portal. Note that Exact Keywords search ignores the Article title and its content.

Proximity

Using the Boolean search type and the NEAR Operator

In most cases, Exact Phrase is a better choice when looking for a specific string of words or characters; however, for those times when you merely want to enhance the relationship between words in your search, the NEAR operator can help.

Here is an example of how NEAR logic affects the number of search results.  Notice the slight differences between the search strings using the NEAR operator.  The first example relies on Knowledgebase's definition of NEAR, whereas the second example defines NEAR as within three words.

Search Terms Search Type Results
suv recalls All Words 3,030,000
suv NEAR recalls Boolean 9,379
suv NEAR3 recalls Boolean 5,150
suv recalls Exact Phrase 4,980

Note: While Exact Phrase netted fewer results, the Boolean NEAR search provides more flexibility because an additional NEAR clause can be added to further refine the search. For example, suv NEAR recalls NEAR {brand name} would ensure results have high probability of being about recalled SUVs of a particular brand.

Reference Words

An administrator may add unique reference words to an article. If the search string matches all of the reference words for a particular article, the article will be displayed.

Search Options

Search Within

Knowledgebase
Limit the scope of your search to one or more Knowledge Bases. The image below in Search Filters shows the location of the Knowledgebase select list.

Category
Limit the scope of your search to one or more Categories in each Knowledge Base. The Category select list becomes available when you select a Knowledge Base. This option is limited to the first two levels of Categories.

Search Filters

Authors can manually add filters to Articles; these filters function the same way as tags on many social computing sites. Filters are offered via select list(s) that appear below the Knowledge Base / Category list.

 

When used, search results are limited to Articles that authors have applied the same filters that you select from the list(s). In other words, if you choose the Training filter, the only Articles that appear in search results are those Articles that authors have manually added the Training filter.

Progressive Search

Allows you to retain a search results set, and perform additional searches against it to reduce the number of items shown, progressively narrowing the set to enable more confident selection of an item. A maximum of five progressive search iterations are allowed on one set, at which time you are required to begin a new search.

The highlighted images below show the location of the Progressive Search option (your system may have a different name for it) and the additional filters that can be used to enhance search results.

Note: Progressive seach takes only new text into account with each new search iteration.

 

About Knowledgebase Search

Stemming

Knowledgebase uses stemming to reduce all words to their stemmed form. For example, helped, helping, and helpful are all derived from the word help, so that all items that contain the various forms of help have equal likelihood of appearing in search results. If you do not want stemming to occur on your searches, use Exact Phrase search.

Stop List

Knowledgebase uses a stop list to improve speed and accuracy. Words on the stop list typically have little value in finding meaningful items in response to a search string, and because these words are little more than noise and comprise roughly 40% of text words in documents, results are faster and more accurate by using a stop list.

Types of words typically found in a stop list include:

Suggested Searches

Knowledgebase may offer a number of alternative search strings. Each suggested search is a hyperlink that invokes a new search of the Knowledgebase using the suggested term.

What Happens During a Search?

Sometimes search types and operations are combined to deliver a search experience that meets your expectations. For example, when performing an Exact Phrase search, you expect the search engine to use every word in your search string as it was typed; therefore, you do not want the ignored words list consulted, or Stemming to occur on your words.

Search Types Operations Performed During Search
Stop List Spell Check Synonyms Stemming
All Words, Any Words Yes Yes Yes Yes
Natural Language Yes Yes No Yes
Boolean No No Yes No
Exact Keyword, Exact Phrase No No No No
FAQ No No No No
Forum No No No No
Glossary No No No No
Solution Finder No No No No


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