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Search Film Scouts: Search Tips

When a search is executed, three categories are probed: titles of films, names of people, and texts (within reviews, interviews, etc.). Depending on what you are looking for, different advice applies for constructing a search phrase.

If you're looking for a title, try using just one significant word or partial word - even starting in the middle of a word. However, any fragment must be exact, so a title search will fail if words are in the wrong order, misspelled, or if an an intervening word is missing. Do not use the operators "AND", "OR" or "NOT", or "wild card" characters "*" or "?, unless they are part of the title. Quotation marks are not necessary, but if the title contains an operator, they are required for valid results in the text portion of the search (see operator table below). Case is ignored.

If you're looking for a person, the search engine uses full or partial names, starting with the first letters of first and/or last names. If you are looking for Robert De Niro, the following searches will succeed: "Robert De Niro", "de niro, robert", "de ni", and "rob de n". ("Robert" will also succeed but will return a list of everyone with first or last names Robert, Roberts, Robertson, etc.). However, "Niro" will fail, because his last name begins with "de", and thus "Niro" is a partial name starting in the middle. Case is ignored. Do not use the "wild card" characters "*" or "?".

Text searches use a more sophisticated search engine with different rules altogether. A multi-word entry is treated as a literal phrase unless you specify one or more operators. If you're looking for individual words, use "OR" between them to expand the scope of a search, or "AND" or "NOT" to restrict it. Unlike name or title searches, text searches for partial words must specify "wild cards" using a question mark for a single character or an asterisk for multiple characters. For example, looking for "symphon*" will find "symphony", "symphonic", and "symphonies". Looking for "symphon?" will find only "symphony". Wild cards may also be used at the beginning or in the middle of words. There is also a built-in automatic "stem" wild card for simple plurals and verb endings: "ring" will find "rings", "ringed" and "ringing" without requiring an asterisk. The following table enumerates the available operators:

ANDRequire both previous and following term.
ORRequire either previous or following term (and accept both).
,Same as "OR".
NOTExclude following term.
?Any single character (beginning, middle, or end of a word).
*Zero, one, or more characters (beginning, middle, or end of a word).
( )Parentheses specify operator hierarchy when using more than one operator.
" "Enclosing quotes make an operator-containing phrase literal, as in "song and dance".

Additional notes: 1) The "Rank" column in text search results is based solely on the frequency of appearance of the search term in a document, and thus may not be of much relevance. 2) Uppercase is not required for operators, but is used by convention. 3) An Ill-formed statement will cause an error with message "Invalid search criteria entered."
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