Intermediate/Advanced LibWorm-Fu (Power Searching) Updated

We’ll start with the radio buttons, then move on to search operators that LibWorm understands.


There are three radio buttons beneath LibWorm’s search field, any words, all words, and exact phrase.

any words
By default, any words is selected when you first load the main page of LibWorm in your web browser. Having this radio button selected tells LibWorm that your search results must contain at least one of the words you’re searching for. With the search below, you’re telling LibWorm you’d like to see results that contain either OPAC or sucks.

all words
The all words radio button tells LibWorm that you only want results that contain all of the words you’re searching for. Wth the search below, you’re telling LibWorm that you’d like to see results that contain both OPAC and sucks, but not necessarily in that order or near each other.

exact phrase
The exact phrase radio button tells LibWorm that you only want to see search results that contain exactly the characters in the exact sequence you typed into the search field. With the search below, you’re telling LibWorm that you only want to see posts that contain exactly “OPAC sucks”. Posts that don’t contain EXACTLY this string of characters in this sequence, even if they contain something very similar (like “OPACs suck”) will not appear in the results of this search.


Note: For best results, select the any words radio button before using these operators.

” “
A phrase that is enclosed within double quote (” “) characters matches only rows that contain the phrase exactly as it was typed (see notes on “exact phrase” radio button above).

A plus sign before a word indicates to LibWorm that the word must be present in every result returned.

The leading minus sign indicates that the word must not appear in any search result returned.

The asterisk is the truncation or wildcard character in LibWorm.
Example: suck*
The set of results returned by this query will include items containing words like suck, sucks, sucked, sucker, sucking or “sucktastic.” Okay, no feed is indexed in LibWorm as having used the word “sucktastic” (…until about an hour after I post this).

( )
Parentheses group words into subexpressions.
Example: +”Meredith Farkas” +(“5 weeks” “Five Weeks”)
This query will produce results that contain the exact phrase “Meredith Farkas” AND either “five weeks” or “5 weeks”.

> <
These help influence the relevance sorting of returned search results. If the > is placed before a word or phrase, its “weight” in the sorting by relevance is increased. The < placed before a word or phrase lessens its “weight.”
Example: +”Walt Crawford” +(>”cites and insights” <“Walt at Random”)
This query will return only results that contain both the exact phrase “Walt Crawford” AND either “Cites and Insights” or “Walt at Random,” but it’ll place those that mention “Cites and Insights” higher in my list of results as ordered by relevance.

This operator is sort of like the , but not as emphatic. A search term with this operator in front of it will not be excluded from results returned, but the term’s presence will not be considered in the sorting of results by relevance. It sort of de-emphasizes the search term without making it a hard, absolute NOT.

Try these operators out and you’ll find you can generate very, very specific results.

Searching by URL
To answer Walt’s questions in the comments below, searching by URL sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t because LibWorm strips out an item’s HTML. Searching by URL will work if the URL was in the text of the item, but not if it was only in the hyperlink. Also note that the source URL is not searchable, but the Source’s name is. More advanced searching (by source, by category, etc.) is on the way.

Want more help?

Do you have a query or feed you’d like to create but can’t get it to work in LibWorm? Want to run a query by us to make sure it is doing what you think it should? If LibWorm isn’t processing your query as expected, we’ll get it fixed. If you just need a pointer or two on how to get what you need, we can help with that, too- just drop me an email () so we can help.

Want to demonstrate LibWorm for your colleagues? We’ll be happy to help you get your presentation materials together or answer any questions you might have. If you have web conferencing software that can be applied, we’d be happy to demonstrate LibWorm for your group, too.

Keep the ideas and the questions coming- We love ’em!

4 thoughts on “Intermediate/Advanced LibWorm-Fu (Power Searching) Updated

  1. OK, OK, so I’ll go learn to use Libworm. I take it that

    +Walt-(“Walt at Random” “Cites & Insights” “Cites and Insights”)

    would return only stuff that didn’t mention the blog or the ejournal [and include cases where someone first-names me).

    Can you use URLs as part of searches? (E.g., if I do an egosearch, I’d just as soon not deal with narcissism/cross-posts, so
    +Walt-(“” “”) would be useful.

    Guess I should go try it. Good stuff.

  2. Better answers to your questions are in the revised post, Walt.

    Glad we’ve talked you into trying LibWorm- please let us know any thoughts you might have about how it can best be improved upon!


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