Wikibooks has an extremely powerful search engine built in, which can be used to locate material on Wikibooks more easily and more precisely than well known external web search engines
such as Google
The search box is located at the top right on every page on the standard Wikibooks skin (Vector). It will take you to the page which matches your query, otherwise it displays the search results. To display the full search results, click on the last item in drop-down list (which says «⧼vector-simplesearch-containing⧽»), or perform an empty search. The direct link for the standard interface is Special:Search
and this for advanced search
The default search only applies to the Mainspace (where most books are stored), Wikijunior (a collection of books for children), and Cookbook (a large collection of recipes). Other types of content pages can be searched by selecting an option from the grey search types box below the search input box.
is selected, you can search images, videos, and audio stored on Wikibooks or our shared media repository, Wikimedia Commons
. This option will search their file names and descriptions.
If Help and Project pages
is selected, you can search the "Help" and "Wikibooks" namespaces
. These namespaces contain help pages, Wikibooks guidelines and policies, and all pages used for administration and maintenance of the site.
If Everything is selected, you can search all namespaces.
To search in any subset of namespaces, click Advanced
on the search form. A quicker way to search a single namespace is to type the namespace, a colon, then the search term in the search box, for example Wikibooks:Categories
returns search results for catetgories in the Wikibooks namespace.
can modify the default namespace to search in "My Preferences"
. They can also choose how much context and how many hits per page to display when viewing search results.
Navigation pages will attempt to guide you to the correct book. You may encounter two types of these pages when searching for a topic.
You may type in something like Languages
, that takes you to a list of the many things that you could mean by it. This type of page is called a shelf, and it's there to make things easier for you. Such a page prevents you from having to guess the exact phrase used to identify each book.Redirection
Some things can be referred to by many names. The United Kingdom History
, for instance, could be called the History of the United Kingdom
, the History of the UK
, or many similar things. Searching is set up so that if you search for any of those terms, you will be "redirected" to the proper place. If instead of being redirected you are taken to a search menu, then you have searched for a phrase that has not been set up to redirect to a book. In such a case, you may look through the search results for an appropriate topic, try searching for an alternative spelling or name for the term, or try something related like History
. Once you have found what you were looking for, consider adding redirect pages
for the expressions that you tried that did not lead to a book or shelf because chances are that you are not the only one thinking about the topic in this way. Thus, in doing so you will make life easier for those who later search for the term.
The internal search engine can search for parts of page titles or page title prefixes, and in specific categories
. It can also limit a search to pages with specific words in the title or located in specific categories or namespaces. It can handle parameters an order of magnitude more sophisticated than most external search engines, including user-specified words with variable endings and similar spellings. When presenting results, the internal search understands and will link to relevant sections of a page (although to a limited degree some other search engines may do this as well).
The internal search is also able to search all pages for project purposes, whereas external search engines cannot be used on any talk page, a large part of project space, and any page tagged with __NOINDEX__ (usually used on user pages
The source text (what one sees in the edit box) is searched. This distinction is relevant for piped links
, for interlanguage links
(to find links to Chinese books, search for zh, not for Zhongwen), special characters (if ê is coded as ê it is found searching for ecirc), etc.
Upper and lower case as well as some umlauts
are disregarded in search. For example, a search for citroen
will find pages containing the word Citroën
(c = C, e = ë). Some ligatures
match the separate letters. For example, a search for aeroskobing
will find pages containing Ærøskøbing
(ae = Æ).
The following features can be used to refine searches:
- Phrases in double quotes - A phrase can be searched by enclosing it in double quotes. For example, "holly dolly" returns fewer few results as opposed to holly dolly (two standalone words). This technique also allows one to find all occurrences of a word or name across Wikibooks rather than being directed automatically to a book or a shelf.
- Boolean search - By default logical AND is applied to all search terms, just as on all major search engines. Parentheses and "OR" can also be used. For example windows OR system and combined: microsoft (windows OR system) (note the uppercase OR).
- Exclusion - Terms can be excluded with -, for example windows -system (note there is no space between "-" and the excluded term)
- Wildcard search - Wildcards (characters taking the place of any other character or string that is not known or specified) can be prefixed and suffixed, for example, the query "*stan" would match books like Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
- Fuzzy search - Adding a tilde (~) at the end of a search word matches words with similar spelling. For example, searching for james~ watt~ would identify James Watt, James Wyatt, and James Watts as the first three search results.
- intitle: - using the intitle: parameter, query results can be narrowed by title. The search word(s) given to intitle: can be anywhere in the title. Example searches using intitle:
prefix: - use the prefix: parameter to limit the results to book titles starting with the given characters. If a namespace is also given to prefix:, that page name will override any and all other namespace searches. Prefix: should be the last parameter in the query. Example searches using prefix:
Using the search to directly get to a page
When using the search to directly get to a page, it doesn't matter whether you enter capitals or lower case letters (unless there are two book titles which differ only in capitalization). Umlauts
are also disregarded, but ligatures
do not match the separate letters.
Specialized uses of the search to directly get to a page include the following:
- To navigate to a section of a page using anchor notation. For example, Poland#History.
- To navigate to a special page, including one with a parameter following a slash. For example, Special:Log/Example.
- To navigate directly to a page on another language Wikipedia or Wikimedia project, using the appropriate interwiki prefix; some other prefixes work too. For example, enter fr:France to go to the book "France" on French Wikibooks, or wikt:help to see the Wiktionary entry for the word "help".
- To go quickly to the user contributions of an IP address – just enter the address. For example, 22.214.171.124.