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Q: Searching on the Internet ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Searching on the Internet
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: 816913-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 18 Feb 2005 13:39 PST
Expires: 20 Mar 2005 13:39 PST
Question ID: 476770
How can I use a wildcard in a search.  I have part of a last name but
not all of it.  For example, if I had "Bill Smit", I would like to run
a wildcard search to find all of the "Bill Smit*" combinations.  the
Asterisk is my wild card.  I could find Bill Smith, Bill Smitt, Bill
Smitty, etc.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 18 Feb 2005 14:09 PST
There used to be search a search tool at Alta Vista, but it no longer
exists, I'm afraid,

Instead, you can construct an "OR" search at Google, as follows:

[ Bill (smith OR smitt OR smitty OR...)

Tack on as many variations as you want...just make sure the "OR" is in caps.

Let me know if that does the trick for you.


Clarification of Question by 816913-ga on 18 Feb 2005 14:16 PST
Let me add a clarification.  I do not have the rest of the name.  So I
really do not know all of the permutations of the spelling.  Thanks
Subject: Re: Searching on the Internet
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 18 Feb 2005 15:36 PST
I'm going to flat-out steal the great link provided by pinkfreud-ga
(in the comments, below), because, with a bit tinkering, it can do
exactly what you need.

Head to:

and conduct a search on:


Of course, you'll want to enter whatever name you happen to be interested in.

Note there are several special features here:

--the search begins and ends with a backslash   \

--there are no spaces.  Instead, there is a period [ . ] in between
the first and last name

--the wildcard at the end is two characters, a period and an asterisk  [ .* ]

The results from the above search returned:

Bill Smit 

Billy Smitha

Billy smites

Billy Smithe's


Bill Smitrovich

Bill Smitka

Billy Smithers

and of course...

Bill Smith 

Let me know if you run into any problems here.

Subject: Re: Searching on the Internet
From: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Feb 2005 14:12 PST
Have you tried Exalead? This Exalead search will find "Smith,"
Smitty," "smite," and such. I could be wrong, but it appears that you
can't specify an exact phrase when using this kind of search in
Exalead, so the words "bill" and "smith" may not be adjacent to each
other, but it's a start:*
Subject: Re: Searching on the Internet
From: pafalafa-ga on 18 Feb 2005 14:43 PST
Hey...that's pretty cool, Pink.  I wasn't aware of that.

Subject: Re: Searching on the Internet
From: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Feb 2005 15:39 PST
Excellent work, Paf! I have not yet explored Exalead in any depth, and
you have taught me something that should be very useful!
Subject: Re: Searching on the Internet
From: mister2u-ga on 19 Feb 2005 11:28 PST
I too am impressed,using a wildcard as part of a word (or name) search
is called stemming and I have never seen a search engine with that
feature before.

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