FASlink Fetal Alcohol Disorders Society

Asksam Search Tips

The askSam Web Publisher supports powerful searches.
This document describes the syntax for entering searches.

Boolean Searches
askSam allows the use of the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT to combine the elements in your search.

      Enter:      golf and tennis and beach
      Find:      documents containing the words
golf, tennis, and beach

      Enter:      golf tennis beach
      Find:      documents containing the words
golf, tennis, and beach
            This search is identical to the first search.

      Enter:      Florida or Hawaii or California
      Find:      documents containing the word
Florida, Hawaii, or California

      Enter:      not expensive and not crowded
      Find:      documents which do not contain the words
expensive and crowded

      Enter:      red white or blue
      Find:      documents containing
red and either the word white or the word blue.

      Enter:      red and white or blue
      Find:      documents containing either
red and white or the word blue.

Wildcard Searches
Your Searches can include the wildcard symbols * and ?. The * replaces multiple characters (up to 80). The ? replaces a single character.

      Enter:      German*
      Find:      Germany, Germanic, Germans, ...

      Enter:      *CAD
      Find:      AutoCAD, NiCad, ...

      Enter:      80?86
      Find:      80286, 80386, 80486, ...

Searching for Phrases
When you enter two words in a search, the Web Publisher retrieves all documents containing these two words:

      Enter:      Windows Write
      Find:      With XYZ for Windows you can write mail merge letters.

To find words directly next to each other, place square brackets [ ] around the phrase.

      Enter:      [Windows Write]
      Find:      The Readme file was written in Windows Write.

Fuzzy Searching
A fuzzy search helps you locate information when you're not sure of the spelling

      Enter:      {fuzzy} Kathy
      Find:      Documents containing either Kathy, Kathi, or Cathy

Note: Search commands such as FUZZY must be entered in curley braces { }. This tells askSam that the word FUZZY is a command and not a term in your search.

Searching in a Specific Field
You can restrict an askSam search to the contents of a specific field.

      Enter:      White {in} Name:
      Find:      documents where
White appears in the Name: field.

If the field you are searching is longer than a single line, use the long command to search the entire field.

      Enter:      askSam {in long} Notes:
      Find:      documents where
askSam appears anywhere in the Notes: field.

Numeric Searching
With askSam's Numeric Search capabilities you can select Documents based on a numeric comparison (>, <, =, >=, <=, <>).

      Enter:      Price: < 2,000
      Find:      documents where the number in the Price: field is less than 2000.

Proximity Searching
A Proximity Search allows you to search for two words or phrases occurring within a specified proximity of one another. This enables you to use the natural elements contained within blocks of normal text (Words, Lines, Sentences and Paragraphs) to tailor your search.

      Enter:      Thatcher {vicinity :0P Reagan}
      Find:      documents where
Thatcher and Reagan appear in the same paragraph.

The Proximity Search supports the following modifiers
      W - Words
      L - Lines
      S - Sentences
      P - Paragraphs

      B - Before
      A - After
      E - On either side of
      0 (Zero) - In the same Word, Line, Sentence, or Paragraph

You can mix these modifiers to create a variety of searches:
      Enter:      Internet {vicinity :1WB access}
      Find:      documents where
Internet appears 1 word before access.

      Enter:      veto {vicinity :2LA President}
      Find:      documents where
veto appears within 2 lines after President.

      Enter:      GM {vicinity :1SE Ford}
      Find:      documents where
GM appears 1 sentence either side of Ford.

Date Searching
The Date Search finds information according to a Date contained in a field. There are three categories of Date Searching:

Single range ("find all documents earlier than...")
      Enter:      {cal} Date: < 01-01-96
      Find:      documents where the date in the Date: field is less January 1, 1996.

Dual range ("find all documents from 1970 to 1980")
      Enter:      {cal} Born: >= 01-01-1970 and {cal} Born: <= 01-01-1980
      Find:      documents with dates in the Born field between 1970 and 1980.

Comparison ("find documents with dates from the last 30 days")
      Enter:      {cal} Date:{to} [ ] <= 30 days
      Find:      documents where the date in the Date field is <= 30 days from today.

      Enter:      {cal} Date:{to} Dec. 7, 1941 <= 2 months
      Find:      documents where the date is <= 2 months from December 7, 1941.

      Enter:      {cal} Date:{to} [ ] >= 1 year
      Find:      documents where the date in the Date field is >= 1 year from today.

1) askSam is able to work with Dates which are not in the 20th century.

2) Dates of varying formats can be mixed in a file and will still be understood. For example, askSam can compare, sort and evaluate a file with dates such as July 30th, 1995, 30 JUL. 1995, and 07-30-95 mixed throughout the file.