The quickest way to find information in Fanlore is to look it up directly. On the right-hand side of your screen there is a Search box with two buttons next to it labeled "Go" and "Search". Clicking Go (or hitting the Enter or Return key on your keyboard) will take you automatically to the article, if it exists. Search will search the text of all pages on the wiki (with some restrictions, see below).
If you click Search or Go and the page you are looking for does not exist, you will be presented with a list of articles that match your search criteria (or a message that no matches were found).
How the search function works
Here's how the search works:
- The article content is searched in its raw (wikitext) form, i.e., it searches the text that appears in the edit box when you click 'edit', not the rendered page. This means that content from an included template will not be included in the search, but the target of piped links will be.
- If you enclose a phrase in double quotes, the search looks for the words in that order. (Note that this is different than Google's search, where double quotes mean "exactly these words in exactly this order")
- The search is not case-sensitive, e.g., "MediaWiki", "mediawiki" and "MEDIAWIKI" all give the same result.
- Unlike search engines such as Google, the search function does not ignore stop words such as "a" and "the".
The search function defaults to an AND search. For example, if you type Sydney Bristow into the search box, you will get pages that contain both Sydney and Bristow.
- To do an OR search, use the OR operator, |. For instance, Sydney | Bristow will return pages that contain either Sydney or Bristow (or both).
- There are other operators you can use, such as the NOT operator, ! or -. For instance, "Harry Potter" -stub will generate pages containing the phrase "Harry Potter" that aren't marked as stubs. For a full list and examples, take a look at the Sphinx documentation.
Note that the Fanlore search function does not currently support non-Latin scripts (e.g. Cyrillic, Japanese). To search Fanlore in these languages, use Google.
Narrowing your search
If you click the 'Search' button without filling in the search box, you will be taken to Special:Search, which gives you extra searching options (also available from any search results list).
You may find it useful to restrict a search to pages within a particular namespace such as the Talk pages. By default, the search returns results only from the Main namespace, or whichever namespace you selected in your preferences. (Logged-in users can change their search preferences by selecting and deselecting boxes in the 'search' section of user preferences.)
- Tick one or more namespaces you want to search through from the list of checkboxes under the search box.
From Special:Search, clicking on Advanced below the search bar brings up a series of checkbox options. The bottom-most checkbox is List redirects.
- Uncheck the List redirects box if you do not wish for pages that are redirects to show up in the search results.
- Check the List redirects box if you wish for redirects to be included in the search results.
There are three search parameters that can be used to filter results. To use them, enter the query in the search box in the form filter:search_query. Underscores should be used in place of spaces for multi-word queries.
- intitle: — Finds only pages whose titles contain the search query.
- For example, intitle:Amber finds all pages that have "Amber" in their titles.
- prefix: — Finds only pages whose titles begin with the specified prefix.
- For example, prefix:List_of finds all pages that have titles beginning with the phrase "List of".
- incategory: — Finds only pages in the specified category. (Note: this option does not search within subcategories of the specified category.)
These filters can all be used with one another, and should come after the standard search term (if one is used).
- For example, Spock intitle:Star_Trek incategory:1975 finds all articles in Category:1975 whose titles contain the words "Star Trek" and have the word "Spock" somewhere on the page.
Other Search Tips
Fanlore's search function is provided by the third-party extension Sphinx Search. It has the advantage of being free, but is not as sophisticated as, for example, Google. You can also use Google to search Fanlore pages by adding
site:fanlore.org to your search string. For example, to find Fanlore pages related to Naruto, type Naruto site:fanlore.org into Google's search box.
Keep in mind that Google does not index Fanlore pages as quickly as Fanlore's own search function, so results may not reflect the current state of the wiki.
The special namespace contains a few other useful tools for finding wiki pages:
- External Links - tells you every Fanlore page that links to a certain URL or domain
- All Pages - lets you find all pages that start with a certain word or phrase