Search box techniques

The RMIT web site has a very powerful search engine. Specify the words you want matched in a search, or specify exactly how you want these search terms to be matched.

Default search settings

  • The search assumes the use of the ‘+’ operator. You do not need to include this symbol between search terms.
  • The search looks for your term and its plural, concatenated with an "s". For instance, if you type shoe into the search box, the search will search for both shoe and shoes. This also works in reverse, where the "s" may be truncated.


Specify how you want your search terms to be matched.





animal cat dog

animal +cat +dog

+animal +cat +dog

Include all words (AND)

By default, each word you enter in the search box must be in each of the matched documents. The more words you add to your search terms, the fewer results you should have.

Using the + operator is equivalent to using the Boolean AND between single terms. By default, the search assumes the use of the + operator (ie, you do not need to add this symbol).


animal cat |dog

Make words optional (OR)

To make a word in your search optional, place a “pipe” symbol (|) directly in front of the word.

For example, entering animal cat |dog will return results where all documents must have the words animal and cat in them, and might also have the word dog in them.


clothing -cotton

Exclude words (NOT)

To make sure that a word is excluded from your search results, place a minus sign (-) immediately before the keyword (no spaces) in the search box.

For example if clothing -cotton was entered into the search box, the search would return a list containing web pages with the keyword clothing, but without the keyword cotton.



"cool wool"



To search for an exact phrase, place the phrase between double quotation marks, or separate the words in the phrase with a semi-colon (;).

For example to search for Cool Wool, you could enter either "cool wool" or cool;wool (no spaces) into the search box.





Partial words (wild cards)

To search on only part of a word, the (?) operator can be used.

For instance to search for all words starting with 'wo', you would type wo?, which would return words like 'wool' and 'worst'. The same could be applied to the end or middle of a word. For example, ?wo or ?wo?.




Fuzzy search

Fuzzy operator will find words that are close to (in terms of spelling) the given word. You can control how close the word must be by proving a percentage (between 50 and 99) before the percentage sign.

For example, to find documents containing words that are close to hungray, %hungray will match both hungry and hungary. To find documents that are within 55% of hungray, 55%hungray provides a broader search that now includes the words hung and hunger.

Combining searches

It is possible to combine searches, allowing you to include, exclude and use phrases all in the one search. For example "Red Buttons" |Cotton Polyester -Wool would return web pages containing the phrase "Red Buttons" and the other keyword Cotton, as well as pages containing Polyester, without the keyword Wool.


Each document in the site is broken up into fields, including metadata or cataloguing information about each document. It is possible to search on particular fields with the document. See fielded searching for more details.