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Searching the CERN

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You can search for documents located in the official CERN web structure using the CERN Search Service. The CERN Search Engine is the service that allows users to search the huge amount of information stored on the CERN Intranet. On the page you will also find some references to world-wide search engines.

The CERN Intranet today consists of roughly one million documents generated by numerous applications. The Search Engine is able to index and search documents in popular formats: HTML, XML, PDF, Microsoft Office documents (PowerPoint, Word). Indexing is independent of the platform because the server is using standard Internet protocols.

In addition to the collection of CERN documents in the Intranet, the Search Engine is providing full-text search of the impressive collection of scientific documents in the CERN Document Server.

The Search Engine serves today more than 1000 queries per day with a peak of 200 queries/hour during working hours. The CERN Index is updated continuously. However, it will typically take 2-4 days between changes done to a given document are correctly reflected in the index.

Presently, the CERN Search Engine is based upon

Searching  is performed by querying the search engine. It will in turn look into the CERN Index which is a database containing information about all the known documents and return links to those which match.

This service is able to locate public documents which are:

  • located in CERN
  • linked into the CERN web structure
  • readable for everyone
  • which have existed for a few days

More information about the CERN Search Project can be found at CERN Search Help Pages.

Tips for efficient searching

  • Learn the search syntax. See the help about search syntax. The search syntax and the exact meaning ("effect") depends upon the search engine.
  • Put effort into defining search terms.
  • Adapt a strategy of trial, inspection of the intermediate results, and search-again refinement.

Some search examples

The following short examples should give the reader some ideas how to search. See the online help for complete description. The search syntax is Ultraseek's Natural Language.

Syntax Explanation
word Search for documents containing a word. Example: higgs
"word1 word2" Search for a term of adjacent words. 
Example: "higgs boson"
Albert Einstein Use uppercase (capital) letters to identify proper names. This is equivalent to the term "Albert Einstein"
W3C Uppercase matches only exact case. That is, W3C does not match w3C w3c W3c. Lowercase matches both cases.
goose Stemming. goose also searches for documents containing geese
term1 term2 this or that. Search must satisfy at least one criteria. 
Example: "top quark" "beauty quark"
+term this and that. Search must satisfy several criteria. 
Example: +lepton +"Higgs boson"
-term should not. Try to exclude given terms. 
Example: +"proton decay" -SUSY -"super symmetry"


The home page of a web site may include specialized "narrowing-down" search forms for finding documents just within that particular context.

Private indexes

Some experiments have their own private search index which also include documents with access restrictions. These can be searched using forms located inside the access-restricted web pages of the experiment.

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