Search Help

Hi, I'm Emily Bronto, Bikwil Pet of the Year

Bikwil salutes language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies, science and humour

How to Use the Built-in Search Engine

Sometimes users of the Bikwil Web site need to track down an elusive reference that an eye scan of the feature/author/series Catalogues fails to find.  You might need, for instance, to locate a particular article on Beethoven.  Maybe you want to enjoy again the piece about that English town Berwick. Perhaps you wish to check how many references the site makes to jazz.  The Bikwil Site Search feature will allow you to do just those sorts of things.

If you been redirected here because no matches were found for your search terms, read through our material below and see how you might restructure your query (by narrowing or broadening it).  Then select "Site Search" again from the menu on the left.

Basic Searching

To do a simple search, all you have to do is type into the box the word or phrase you are looking for, then click on the Search button or just press the Enter key.  You may additionally choose how many results you wish to see at a time, plus whether you need a summary of each document found.  (Summaries show the context of your found search word or phrase.)

Once the search is complete, you will be presented (in a separate window) with a list of references to the pages containing the word or phrase you entered, together with summaries if requested.  The only exceptions to this occur
(a) when only one page satisfies your request in which case you will be taken directly to the top of that page, or
(b) when no pages satisfying no request are found in which case you will be taken directly to the Help page you are now reading, or
(c) when your word or phrase has been found in the HTML code of a page but not in the normal text as displayed in which case the results in question are returned without summaries (even if you did request them).  Such results may be ignored.

Search Tips

Here are a few tips to make your search more effective:

1. Using multiple words will return more refined results than a single word. For example, typing the one word russell may return references to more Russells than you intended.

2. The more similar words you use in a search, the more relevant your results will be.  Example: poet poem verse.  This applies also to spellings where American British usage differs, so include both, e.g. humor humour.

3. Capitalize proper nouns, and remember that lower-case words will match any case. For instance, typing ring will return all documents containing the words ring, Ring and RING. Typing Ring, however, will instruct the search engine to look only for the capitalized word.

4. Use quotation marks to find words which must appear adjacent to each other, for example: "Internet fan sites".  Otherwise, the search results will include the words Internet, fan, and sites, but not necessarily in that order. The words may appear anywhere, and in any order, within a found document.

5. Results are provided in relevance order, i.e. with better matches shown first.

Advanced Searching

1. The search engine also allows queries to be identified in terms of one of these options: "Any word", "All words" or "Exact phrase".

Note:  Quotes can only be used when "Any words" is selected. Quotes are ignored if  "All words" or "Exact phrase" is selected.

2. If the Sound-Alike Matching box is ticked, the search engine will attempt to find words that sound similar to your search terms (e.g. misspellings like egytian for egyptian), but it's always best to try to spell the search terms correctly.

3. Use a plus sign (+) when your search term or phrase must appear in the search results. Use a minus sign (-) to indicate undesirable terms. The plus sign tells the search engine that a certain word or phrase is required in the search results, and a minus sign indicates that a word or phrase must be absent in the search results.

For example:

+opera +house -sydney will find any documents containing both the word opera and the word house (though not necessarily adjacent) but not the word Sydney.

+"opera house" -sydney will find any documents containing the phrase opera house but not the word Sydney.

+sydney -smith will find any documents containing Sydney except, say, those containing Sydney Smith.

Note:  Plus and minus can only be used when the "Any words" is selected. Plus and minus are ignored if the "All words" or "Exact phrase" is selected.

Note:  A phrase must be contained within quotation marks.

Note:  Leave no spaces between the plus or minus sign and the term.

4. Wildcard searches can expand the number of matches for a particular request. The asterisk (*) is used as the wildcard character.

Some examples:

Searching for wh* will find the words what, why, when, whether and any other word that starts with wh.

Searching for *her* will find the words here, whether, together, gathering and any other word that contains her anywhere in the word.

Searching for pun* will find words like pun, puns, punning, Punch, punched, punctuation, punctured, pundits, punishment, Punjabi, punk and puny.

5. Wildcards may be combined with the standard plus (+) and minus (-) modifiers, quotes for phrases, as well as the field search specifiers.


+wh* -se*ch will find all pages which have a word that starts with wh and which does not contain a word that starts with se and ends with ch.

"wh* are" will find the phrases where are, who are, whose are, what are, why are, etc.


You should be aware that, because our inclusion of vintage issues on the Bikwil Web site is a gradual process, the search facility will not find references to words or phrases in any issues as yet not uploaded to the site.

Furthermore, although the results of your search will usually be a list of links to matching pages in our site, when you click on such a link you will not be taken directly to the article in question, but rather to the top of the relevant page just as you will by standard Internet-wide search engines.  Once there, you can simply execute a Find in your browser for the word or phrase in question.


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