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Below please find some help on using the search engine. This is used to do a text-based search of the message archive. To get there, log on to the site, find your group, click on the Messages button on the menu bar at left, then click on the Search button at the top of the resulting page.

A dialog box will pop up to accept your query. The engine uses the standard Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT. You can also search for quoted phrases.


  • telescope AND observatory -- find all messages containing both of the words "telescope" and "observatory"
  • telescope OR observatory -- find messages containing either "telescope" or "observatory" (may contain both)
  • telescope AND NOT observatory -- messages containing "telescope" that do not contain "observatory"
  • "my observatory" OR NOT telescope -- messages that contain either the quoted phrase or do not contain the word "telescope"

These operators must be in ALL CAPS. If you use lower case, the engine will assume you meant to find messages containing these actual words. Also, if you forget to insert any Boolean operator, the system defaults to AND. Thus, "telescope and not observatory" is equivalent to "telescope AND and AND not AND observatory." 

While we're at it, try clicking on the little button to the right of the search button (the thing that looks like the letter "T"). This will display an additional pull-down menu labeled "Any Time" (which is the default). Click on that pull-down to further filter your search hits by posting date.

When you are given results to a search, a Tools button appears to provide some additional filtering/display options.

[Last Updated: 08APR2018]

The official user documentation is in the Help Center.