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Live Search Advanced Tips

1. Live Search supports the use of a number of search options that can be used to help refine your search. One of the first things to know about these advanced search features is that, by default, blank spaces between words and phrases are treated as AND searches.

2. Live Search supports the use of the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT. If these operators are not capitalized, they will be ignored and treated as "stop words." As noted above, a blank space between terms is treated by Live Search in the same way as typing the AND operator. The AND operator finds web pages that contain all of the desired terms or phrases. The OR operator finds web pages that contain either of the terms or phrases being searched. The NOT operator excludes web pages that contain unwanted terms or phrases. As an alternative, these three Boolean operators can also be entered into the search query with the use of symbols:

AND or &
OR or |
NOT or -

3. Phrase searching on Live Search works best when placing quotation marks (" ") around the words being searched as a phrase.

4. The ability to nest search queries is one of the most useful advanced features of Live Search. Let's say that you want to find information about NSU's connection with the annual "Taste of Tahlequah" event. The following example illustrates a possible search approach for retrieving the desired information.

Possible example of how to use Live Search to construct this as a simple search (capitalization is not necessary):

nsu OR "northeastern state university" AND "taste of tahlequah"

The above search may be disappointing, however, since it returned a result of more than two million sites when running it in preparation for this illustration.

As an alternative to the above search approach, below is an example of using an advanced search technique that will retrieve far fewer web pages, with a more precise set of results. This technique, which is available on Live Search, is referred to as nesting a search:

"taste of tahlequah" AND (nsu OR "northeastern state university")

In the above example, the use of parentheses ( ) nests or groups the similar terms NSU and "Northeastern State University" (capitalization is not actually necessary in the search query). Nesting similar terms helps narrow the search results. In fact, when running the above search in preparation for writing this page the results included a little more than two dozen targeted web pages.

Page maintained by: Gary Cheatham
Last updated: September 29, 2011