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By chuq On August 08, 2001 1:55PM
A new feature to the Apple Mailing Lists is the ability to search the list archives. We’ve included some of the most frequently asked questions about this feature below. If you have further questions, please contact us at

Basic Search

To query the list archives, enter a few words into the text field and press ‘enter’ (or click on the ‘search’ button). Any results will be presented on the next page. By default, the search will be sorted by “score”. The engine will look for relevancy based on the number of word matches on a page, working on the simple philosophy of “more is better”

Automatic “AND” searching

By default, the engine will search for all of your terms, inserting the Boolean operator ‘AND’ between them. For instance, if you input Unix Apple, the engine will look for all occurrences of Unix AND Apple in the same archived document.

The default is set in the Match drop down box. If the box says All, then it is set to use the Boolean AND.

“OR” searching

The engine allows the user to search for multiple topics but to look for either topic instead of the default of both. To utilize this, change the Match drop down box to read Any. The engine will insert the Boolean ‘OR’ between your search terms. Using our example from above, the engine will now look for all occurrences of Unix OR Apple in the archived documents.

OR searches will commonly return more results than AND searches.

You can also write your own Boolean searches (using multiple AND/OR statements) by choosing Boolean from the Match drop down box. While most searches can be accomplished using one of the two above methods, this functionality is here for the more experienced searchers.


The engine does not support wildcard searching in order to provide accurate results. For instance, searching for CFUR* will only return the phrase CFUR* and will not include phrases such as CFURLCreateProperty.

Maximum Search Phrase Length

In order to capture specific code phrases, the engine will index any words up to 40 characters. Words over 40 characters are truncated in order to adhere to the maximum length.

This does not mean your search is limit to 40 characters. It simply means the engine will only search for individual words up to 40 characters in length. For most searches, this isn’t a problem.

Case sensitivity

The engine works on a case insensitive basis. This means all search terms will be switched to lower case before the search takes place. The terms LoBSteR MaGNet and lobster magnet will return the same results.

Result Format

You can select the format for your search results by choosing Long or Short under the Format option on the search page. Long, the default selection, will print the first few lines of each result, along with the “score”, and the date of the post. Short on the other hand, will only print the score and the name of the document.

Sorting Results

Your search results can be sorted in a myriad of ways. The drop down box of the Sort by field lists the various options available. Score, the default, is merely a tally of occurrences in a document. The other options available to you are time (sorts by the creation date of the article) and title. The title sort is currently lacking, as the titles match the creation date for the most part.

Additionally, you can sort by the reverse of any of the above options.

Where can I learn more?
To learn more about the ht://dig search engine used <>, please visit <>.

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