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Enter a word or words to search on in the box below. All messages and all pages will be searched for the words you provide. See the details below.

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1st Amendment - 13th Amendment - 14th Amendment - Bill of Rights - Due Process - Freedom - Marriage - Pledge of Allegiance - Religion - Separation of Church and State - Slavery - Succession - War Powers


The USConstitution.net search engine is a nascent attempt at a fast, server-friendly search engine. The concept is simple: allow the user to search for a list of words, with an implied "AND" between them. Instead of searching all the files, search a list of words. The engine is now in its third generation; the first allowed only one-word searches; the third generation added "scoring."

This was accomplished by doing the following: no one- or two-letter words or one- or two-number numbers are indexed. Common words, like "the" and "how" are not indexed. Numbers with more than five digits are not indexed. Words with the root word "constitution" are not indexed (as they would lead to too many useful matches). All words are in lower-case. Create a list of words on a daily basis. Do prefix-matching (in other words, "impeach" matches "impeach" and "impeachment"). Do not do regular expressions. Store all unique words in a message or on a page in a one-line-per-file database, quickly searched using Perl.

Scoring is provided as an aid to the user. It shows what matches might be more relevant. If you search for "president," and the word appears in a document five times, a score of "5" is assigned to the match. Adding "bush" to the search might find a document with 10 occurrences, for a total score of 15. A match with a score of 15 might be better than one with a score of 3. However, this is only a guide.

This third crack at a search engine has a lot of room for expansion, such as boolean operators and wild card searches, and other common search features. I'll get to those as time goes on.

Using the "embedded match" feature

You can modify the way the search works if you find that you are getting too few matches. Normally, the search only finds the words you type in if they appear at the beginning of an indexed word. For example, if you type "quest," the search engine will find words like "quest" and "question," and "request." Allowing embedded matches provides the widest search, but it also slows down the search. For best results, only use embedded matches if a normal search does not find what you're looking for.

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