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Using simple queries

The simple query is the default query type and is appropriate for the vast majority of searches. When entering text on a search form, you perform a simple query by entering a word or comma-delimited strings, with optional wildcard characters. Verity treats each comma as a logical OR. If you omit the commas, Verity treats the expression as a phrase.

Caution:   Many web search engines assume a logical AND for multiple word searches, and search for a phrase only if you use quotation marks. Because Verity treats multiple word searches differently, it might help your users if you provide examples on your search page or a brief explanation of how to search.

The following table shows examples of simple searches:
Search result
low or brass or instrument
low brass instrument
the phrase, low brass instrument
film, films, filming, or filmed
filming AND fun
film, films, filming, or filmed, and fun
filming OR fun
film, films, filming, or filmed, or fun
filming NOT fun
film, films, filming, or filmed, but not fun

Composing search expressions

Wildcard Characters

* is the wildcard character

? is the single letter wildcard character

Case sensitivity

Searches are case-sensitive only when the search term is entered in mixed case. For example, a search for zeus finds zeus, Zeus, or ZEUS; however, a search for Zeus finds only Zeus.

Prefix and infix notation

By default, precedence is implicit in the expression; for example, the AND operator takes precedence over the OR operator.

You can use prefix notation with any operator except an evidence operator (typically, STEM, WILDCARD, or WORD). In prefix notation, the expression explicitly specifies precedence. Rather than repeating an operator, you can use prefix notation to list the operator once and list the search targets in parentheses. For example, the following expressions are equivalent:

  • Moses <NEAR> Larry <NEAR> Jerome <NEAR> Daniel <NEAR> Jacob
  • <NEAR>(Moses,Larry,Jerome,Daniel,Jacob)

The following prefix notation example searches first for documents that contain Larry and Jerome, then for documents that contain Moses:

OR (Moses, AND (Larry,Jerome))

The infix notation equivalent of this is as follows:

Moses OR (Larry AND Jerome)

Commas in expressions

If an expression includes two or more search terms within parentheses, a comma is required between the elements (whitespace is ignored). The following example searches for documents that contain any combination of Larry and Jerome together:

AND (Larry, Jerome)

Precedence rules

Expressions are read from left to right. The AND operator takes precedence over the OR operator; however, terms enclosed in parentheses are evaluated first. When the search engine encounters nested parentheses, it starts with the innermost term.
Search result
Moses AND Larry OR Jerome
documents that contain Moses and Larry, or Jerome
(Moses AND Larry) OR Jerome
(same as above)
Moses AND (Larry OR Jerome)
documents that contain Moses and either Larry or Jerome

Adapted from



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