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What are archived documents?

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Knowledge Base search help

On this page:

Quick help

Searching tips:

  • Use more than one word
  • Use only important words
  • Check your spelling

Good examples:

install windows 7
microsoft exchange forward email
locate email address

Bad examples:

email (Too general; will return hundreds of documents)
How do I locate my cousin's email address at IU? (Too specific; too many words)
analysis of social change (Not related to computing at Indiana University)

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Search function

Basics of searching

To search the Indiana University Knowledge Base, enter your search terms in the search box that appears on every Knowledge Base page. Separate multiple terms with spaces. For example, if you want help ensuring your computer is secure, you could enter the terms computer security . When you've finished entering search words, click the Search button, or simply press Enter while your cursor is still in the text box.

The Knowledge Base search engine searches the full text of all Knowledge Base documents, and returns the documents containing all your search words. For example, the above search would return only documents containing both "computer" and "security", but not documents containing only one of the terms.

The search results page presents you with a list of documents that contain your search terms. If there are more documents than fit on the page, you can see them by selecting Next . Documents are ranked according to how often and how prominently your search terms appear in the text.

At the top of the search results page, you'll see how many total documents your search found. For example, you may see "Showing documents 1 - 15 out of 72 documents". If the total number of returns seems too large, you can narrow your search. It may take a few tries for you to find the combination of search terms that will return the answer to your specific question.


  • Use two to five significant words in your search. Using too many words will eliminate many Knowledge Base documents that might contain your answer, while using too few words will give you too many documents to read. Any of the following are good examples: mac os x vpn connection install windows 8
  • Check your spelling
  • Try using other forms of the words in your search. For example, if your search for adobe installation doesn't find the document you want, try searching for adobe installing, or, better yet, adobe install. Searches for singular words will find documents that contain the plural form of those words (when they end with "s" or "es").
  • Try using synonyms for your search terms. For example, if you don't find anything by searching for windows dead, try windows crash .
  • Try omitting version numbers in your search. For example, search for internet explorer rather than internet explorer 9.0 .
  • Limit your search to subjects covered by the Knowledge Base. Topics covered are specific to information technology at IU.
  • Try using quotation marks to help you find what you're looking for; see Using quotation marks.


  • Use partial words and truncated terms- these searches are not allowed.
  • Search for specific filenames. For example, rather than searching for sndrec32.exe , try looking for windows sound .
  • Use Boolean operators such as "AND" and "OR"; these terms are not allowed.

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Ignored search terms

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Punctuation and single characters

To make searches faster, the Knowledge Base ignores most punctuation marks and most single letters, except for C, R, and X, which are computing terms. (It may be helpful to enclose single character searches in quotation marks; see Using quotation marks.) However, the search does not ignore single-digit numbers.

All punctuation is ignored except the following: . ~ ^ & + | ! < >

Periods and exclamation points followed by white space (such as at end of this sentence) are ignored. However, periods and exclamation points not followed by white space are not ignored. Therefore, you could search on 3.1 or 2.02 successfully; the periods in those search terms are recognized.

Most other punctuation marks (characters that are not letters or numbers) are treated as white space so that the search engine will not consider them a word or a part of a word. This behavior ensures that if, for example, you use e-mail as a search term, you will get all the Knowledge Base documents that contain the word "mail". (The hyphen is converted to white space, making "mail" a separate word and "e" a separate word. Since the "e" is a single letter, it is also ignored.)

These punctuation marks are converted to white space:

/` @ # $ % * ( ) [ ] { } - _ = \ : ; ' ? , "

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Using quotation marks

If you enter your search within quotation marks, the Knowledge Base will return only documents that contain that exact term or phrase, with exactly the same case, sequence of words/characters, and punctuation. For instance, a search for reinstall software will return documents that contain the words "reinstall" and "software", but not necessarily in the same sentence. A search for "reinstall software" will find only documents that contain those words together.

Quotation marks can be useful when you want to search for certain words the Knowledge Base normally ignores (see In Knowledge Base searches, what words are ignored?) or when you are searching for a single character. In the case of a single character, try enclosing it within spaces and quotes:

" C "

This prevents matching to Ctrl-C and C:\>, which would occur if you simply searched for C . The Knowledge Base ignores most punctuation and would treat a search for these examples as though they contained C by itself.

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Failed searches

Most failed searches occur because either the search wasn't formed properly (see Basics of searching), or the subject matter is not covered in the Knowledge Base (see Information not in the Knowledge Base).

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Information not included in the Knowledge Base

It may be that the information you're looking for isn't in the Knowledge Base at all, perhaps because:

  • Your question isn't related to Indiana University or information technology (IT). The Knowledge Base contains mainly IT-related information. If you're searching for medical terminology, for example, you're not going to find the information here.

  • Your question isn't related to systems used at IU (for example, we use PPP, not SLIP). The Knowledge Base is driven by the information needs of the IU IT community.

  • Your question is too specific. The Knowledge Base contains information about questions that are frequently asked at IU. If your question hasn't been asked often, it may not be in the Knowledge Base. However, those at IU can get individualized help by completing the Ask a Question form.
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Archived documents

See In the Knowledge Base, what is archived content?

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Restricted information

You may qualify for access to restricted Knowledge Base documents, depending on your IU role. See About logging into the Knowledge Base.

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Last modified on July 22, 2013.

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