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Search Tips

•   What is Excite Search?
•   What can I search?
•   General search tips
•   Advanced search methods
•   Understanding your search results
•   Relevance rating
•   Sort by Site
•   More Like This
•   Browser errors


Excite's technology offers a unique way to search the Web: by concept. Like most search engines, we've programmed our search engine to look for documents containing the exact words you entered into the query box. But Excite goes further and looks for ideas closely linked to the words in your query. This feature broadens your search.

Suppose you enter elderly people financial concerns in the query box. In addition to finding sites containing those exact words, the search engine will find sites mentioning the economic status of retired people and the financial concerns of senior citizens.

Our search engine can figure out that relationships exist between words and concepts -- that the term elderly people is related to senior citizens. It learns about related concepts from the documents themselves, and learns more from each new document it indexes.


Excite can search all the Web sites in our database, all the reviewed sites in our database, the Usenet newsgroups, or the Usenet classifieds. Use the pull-down menu under the search box on our home page to choose:

World Wide Web
Use this option for the broadest search possible. We search the more than 50 million Web sites in our database, looking for the most relevant matches.

Web Site Reviews
Use this option for a high-quality, targeted search of the more than 60,000 Web sites chosen and reviewed by Excite's experts. Our reviewers comb the Web daily, examining sites and choosing the best ones. For detailed information about this feature, see the Excite Reviews section of this handbook.

Usenet Newsgroups
Use this option to find out what people are saying about a particular subject in casual conversations on the Net. Usenet is a vast collection of discussion groups (known as newsgroups) on every imaginable topic, from technology stocks to the Beatles. Our search engine has access to millions of messages from thousands of Usenet bulletin boards.

Usenet Classifieds
Use this option when you're buying or selling merchandise or if you want to check prices. You'll be able to look at the latest classified ads from millions of Usenet postings.


  1. Search for ideas and concepts instead of just keywords, using more than one word in your search. Excite uses Intelligent Concept Extraction (ICE) to find relationships that exist between words and ideas, so the results of a search will contain words related to the concepts you're searching for.

  2. Excite's search results are sorted by relevance. The results nearest the top will usually be the most relevant.

  3. Use Excite's More Like This link. If you find that one of the many returned results better describes what you are searching for, click on the words "More Like This" next to the URL. Our search engine will then use that document as an example in a new search, to find more sites similar to the one you liked.

  4. Use more descriptive, specific words as opposed to general ones. For example, a search for "Lamborghini" will return much more specific results than a search for "sports cars."

  5. When searching for proper names, be sure to capitalize the first letter of each name.

  6. Use the Sort by Site function. Excite's list of search results may present several pages from the same site. When you click on the Sort by Site button, your list will compress to show the names of the sites and the relevant documents within them.

  7. Try an Advanced Search. Use the "+" (plus) sign for words that your results MUST contain. Or use the "-" (minus) sign in your query to tell the search engine that your results should NOT contain a certain word. When using these options, do not leave any space between the sign and the word.

  8. Choose where you want to search by using Excite's pull-down menu below the search box. This allows you to search the World Wide Web, Excite Reviews, Usenet Newsgroups, or Usenet Classifieds.

  9. Windows 95 and Windows NT users can save time by bringing Excite's search engine to their fingertips. Just download and install Excite Direct on your Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer browser. It's easy. Excite Direct puts a search box and button on your browser's toolbar so you can search without having to return to Excite's home page. Excite's power and the Web's comprehensiveness (all 50-plus million URLs) are accessible from Excite Direct's search box.

  10. Use all of Excite's power to find exactly what you're looking for. You can conduct the most comprehensive search on the Web through Excite Search, find the best sites through Excite Reviews, and use Excite Live! to deliver personalized news right to your desktop. But Excite offers even more. ExciteSeeing Tours guide you through the Web, leading you to information on a multitude of topics. City.Net pinpoints destinations and resources the world over. And Excite Reference helps you track down the people, businesses, and e-mail addresses you need. No matter what you're looking for on the Web, Excite will find it.


Searching for Proper Names

Excite Search is case-sensitive, so it is important to capitalize a query just as you would when writing the name in common English. For example, if you want to find information on John Wayne, Mount Rushmore, or Apple Computer, be sure to capitalize the first letter of each word. Our search engine looks for capitalized words in proximity fashion -- in other words, if John and Wayne are capitalized, it will look for documents that contain those two words next to each other. If your query is entirely in small letters, or entirely capitalized, the search engine will look for all of the words queried, but will return documents that have the words in separate contexts, as well as in proper name format.

Using plus (+) and minus (-) signs

These signs tell our search engine which terms must (+) and must not (-) be present in the returned documents. When using these options, do not leave any space between the sign and the word.

Plus (+)
If you put a plus sign directly in front of a word, all the documents Excite retrieves will contain that word. So if you search for +billiards +rules, you'll be sure to get the rules of the game. Remember, you must mark each word appropriately to have these tools work. For instance, if you type billiards +rules, all of the documents returned will have "rules" in the text, but not necessarily billiards.

Minus (-)
If you put a minus sign directly in front of a word, Excite will NOT retrieve documents containing that word. So if you search for +billiards -equipment -supplies, you'll be spared the billiards-related documents that emphasize equipment and supplies.

Using Boolean Operators

Boolean operators tell Excite's concept-based search mechanism to turn off and allow you to search for documents that contain exactly the words you are looking for. Boolean operators include AND, AND NOT, OR, and parentheses. These operators must appear in ALL CAPS and with a space on each side in order to work.

Documents found must contain all words joined by the AND operator. For example, to find documents that contain the words "wizard," "oz," and "movie," enter:

Documents found must contain at least one of the words joined by OR. For example, to find documents that contain the word "cat" or the word "kitten," enter:

Documents found cannot contain the word that follows the term "AND NOT." For example, to find documents that contain the word "pets" but not the word "dogs," enter:

( )
Parentheses are used to group portions of Boolean queries together for more complicated queries. For example, to find documents that contain the word "fruit" and either the word "banana" or the word "apple," enter:


World Wide Web
Excite lists 10 search results at a time, with the most relevant documents first. For each site you'll see the title and URL, and a brief summary of its contents. Click on the title to go to a site. As with any of our results listings, you'll see the clickable option More Like This.

We list 10 search results at a time, again in decreasing order of relevance. For each site you'll see the title and URL, the topics under which it is categorized in our Reviews section, and the review itself.

For more about our Reviews section, click here.

Usenet Newsgroups
Excite lists up to 20 results of Usenet Newsgroup searches at a time in decreasing order of relevance. You'll see the subject of the message, the author of the message, the Usenet group it came from, and the date. You can click on the subject of the message to get the entire text. You can also click on the name of the newsgroup itself to see what other messages are posted.

Usenet Classifieds
We list up to 20 results of our search through the Classifieds and present them in decreasing order of relevance. You'll see the title of the message, the date, the author, and the newsgroup it came from. Click on the title to go straight to the message, or click on the name of the newsgroup to see other postings.

Note: If you're not set up to view newsgroup postings, you won't be able to access any newsgroup through Excite. If you're unable to access newsgroup postings, contact your service provider.


Excite lists 10 search results at a time in decreasing order of relevance. The percentage sign to the left of each result is the relevance rating. The closer the rating is to 100%, the more confident Excite is that the document will fit your needs. The relevance ratings are automatically generated by our search engine, which compares the information in the site against the information in your query.


By default, your search results are sorted by relevance. Our list of search results may, at times, offer several pages from the same site as separate items. We want you to be able to sort these pages by site. When you click on Sort by Site (the button is at the top of the search results page), your list will be compressed to show the names of the URLs and the relevant hits within them.

Suppose you queried predictions for technology stocks. When Excite searches, it may find sites all around the Web that discuss technology stocks. By clicking Sort by Site, you can quickly see which sites contain the most pages from the top 60 results, and then just go to the site with the most information.


Did our search engine find a document that discusses exactly what you hoped to find in your search? If so, go back to the list of search results and find the URL and title of that particular site. Click on the link More Like This, next to the title. We'll immediately use that document as an example in a new search, one that will find more sites similar to the one you liked.


Once in a while you'll find that you can't access a particular site. Your browser may show one of the following error messages:

DNS Lookup Failed
DNS (domain name server) is a program that exists wherever you get your Internet access. It turns the Web site address that most users see (www.excite.com) into a corresponding numerical address that can be read by a computer. A DNS Lookup Failed message indicates that the browser could not contact your domain name server, or that the domain name server was not aware of the site. Make sure the domain name is not misspelled.

File Not Found
The page may no longer exist, or it may have moved to another address.

Server Error or Server Busy Error
The computer you're trying to contact may be offline, may have crashed, or may be busy. You might want to try again later.

Content: ©1994-1998 Stephan Spencer & Jean-Yves Sgro
Design: ©1997 Internet Concepts, LLC

Web Design by Internet Concepts, LLC

Last Modified October 15, 1998