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Home > Querying

What is a Query?

To query describes the entire search process. An individual query is exactly what you ask your search engine to go looking for. It is the distilled essence of your questions; formed in a way that best retrieves the information you are seeking.

A question is not a query. Think instead of a question as the first step in forming your query and beginning the process of inquiry. Understanding this distinction allows you to create a query in the most meaningful and effective manner by directly crafting the keywords and syntax that will begin your search. To do this you must understand how to select keywords and use operators.

A query is made up of the keywords that describe your topic and the meaning of those keywords using operators that focus the retrieval process. From a question like: 'How do you track satellites?' You extract the keywords (track and satellite). You may want to add additional keywords like orbiter and telemetry. Now you have the building blocks to construct a successful query.

authored by Dennis O'Connor and Carl Heine

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