Entering a search term or search phrase in the search box (available in the top right corner of each page on the site) will return a list of corresponding web pages and documents available on the site.

Featured search

To assist users of the site, the department has implemented a featured search function. The featured search will display the page which most users are wanting to access when a particular search term is entered.

For example: if a user is looking for a map produced by the department, and enters the term 'map' in the search box, a feature search result will be displayed which will link to the central listing of all maps produced by the department.

It is important to note that the 'normal' search results for the search term you entered will appear directly under the featured search result.

Simple search

Most searches consist of a single word or list of words. For example:

  • Application form
  • jobs
  • "gene sequencing"

When you type these words into the search box you will get a list of results, with the most relevant content appearing higher in the list.

Things to note

  • In general, Search tries to find documents which contain all of the query words (implicit AND).
  • Searches are case-insensitive i.e. "New York" and "new york" will be treated the same.
  • Words in Search are any unbroken sequence of letters and/or numbers such as "Romeo", "1999" or "ENGN3410".
  • By default Search will ignore very common stop words such as "the", "a", "of" etc.
  • Use quote characters around your query words if you want to match the exact phrase e.g. "World Music"

Query language help

This document gives an overview of how to perform advanced searches in Search using different query operators. It lists the available query types and gives a link to an example results page for each one.

Simple query

This is just a simple sequence of words — described in the simple search section.

Noosa River speed limits

Phrase operator

A phrase query can be specified by putting quote characters ("") around your query words. Using the phrase operator specifies that the component words must appear consecutively and in the order specified. Note that intervening punctuation, HTML tags etc will be ignored.

"safety equipment"

Metadata search

Documents may contain metadata, including the document's author, title and when it was created. Search can query this information using the syntax:


where class is the metadata class class you want to query (these are a single letter defined by the administrator; standard classes include "a" for author, "t" for title).

The query:


locates documents containing the word river within the metadata field corresponding to the metadata class "t" (ie. the documents' title.)

Dysjunction operator

The dysjunction operator acts like an OR in a Boolean language. The results will contain any document that has at least one of the query terms. For example:

[international business] safety

A full answer to this query will include the word safety and one or more of international or business.

Negation operator

The negation operator excludes all documents that contain the negated query from the fully matching results.

boat !river

A full answer to this query will include the word boat but no occurrence of the word river. Unlike the mandatory exclusion operator (see below), partial results presented in subsequent result tiers may contain the word river.

Mandatory exclusion operator

The mandatory exclusion operator excludes all documents that contain the negated query from all results. This is similar to the NOT operator in a Boolean language.

boat -river

A full answer to this query will include the word boat but no occurrence of the word river. Unlike the negation operator (see above), no results will contain the word river in the indexable part of the text. The partial results are those which satisfy the mandatory constraint (no river) but which do not contain boat.

Mandatory inclusion operator

The mandatory inclusion operator will return results that all have the included terms.

river +Noosa

A full answer to this query will include the words river and Noosa. Every result will contain the word Noosa.

Near (proximity) operator

The near operator (backquotes) requires that the query words appear, in any order, within 15 words of each other. The administrator can adjust this limit to any number of words.

`research development`

The full answer to this query will be those documents that include the word research within 15 words of development (in any order).

Truncation operator

The truncation operator matches words that contain the query term.


This example pattern matches all words starting with pro, such as projects and programs. Be careful, there are almost always more matching words than you expect.

The truncation operator can appear at the left, at the right or both, but NOT in the middle of the string.


This example pattern matches all words containing the string ran, such as transport and Nerang.

Date query

Date queries constrain the result set to documents that were modified/created during a specified time period. For date querying purposes, Search only records one date per document. It will look for the date modified, the date created and the HTTP server's last modified date (in that order).


The d>1oct2009 query returns documents that were modified/created after the 1st of October 2009.


By default Search does not stem words either in the query or in the index. You can specify stemming by appending a cross-hatch ('#') to each query word you wish to stem. For example, the query "economic# policy#" will match:

  • economic policy
  • economics policy
  • economic policies

Complex examples

Mixed operators

The query:

t:`boat* river`

mixes the following operators

  • metadata: search for document titles (t)
  • proximity: title's containing the query terms close to each other (in any order)
  • truncation: words beginning with boat.

This page was:

* indicates required fields

Page feedback

This page was: *

We want this information to be the best it can be and we know we can't do it without you. Let us know what you thought of this page and what other information you would like to see.

We do not reply to feedback. Contact us if you need a response.

Contact (optional)

Please provide your phone number or email address if you are happy for us to contact you with any follow-up questions.

Feedback on a department service

Please use our compliments and complaints form.