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If you have never used an Internet search engine before you can have SINO do most of the work for you. A search engine is a computer program that presents you with a list of documents that match the criteria which you specify. You specify the criteria in the form of show me all documents that have the words X, Y and Z in them. You can narrow the criteria, for example: show me documents from Western Australia with the words X, Y and Z in them.

The important thing to note is that the SINO search engine will return to you a list of documents that contain the words (or phrases) that you specify. Therefore you must choose your search words carefully. The best words (or phrases) to choose are those which are unique or particularly distinctive and are, of course, relevant to the subject matter of your query.

The SINO search engine will relevance rank the results by default, which means that the best matches will appear at the top of the list. You will obtain the best results when searching for unique or distinctive words or phrases.

Using Autosearch

If you are typing in a search from the AustLII home page, the sytem will treat this as an AutoSearch type search. AustLII will analyse the words for which you are searching and attempt to apply the correct search approach for you.

Unless autosearch recognises your search as one of the above searches, it will default the search type to an any of these words search. Do not forget that you can override autosearch by explicitly choosing another search type.

Advanced (Boolean) Searches

If you do a search from the Advanced Search Pages, the system switches by default to boolean mode. The Advanced Search form also allows you to select several other common search types ("all of these words", "words in a document title" etc).

If you want more than one phrase or word to appear in the retrieved documents, put an and between them. For example, to find documents containing the phrase moral rights as well as the word copyright, you would type: moral rights and copyright.

If, on the other hand, you want to find one term and/or another one, put an or between them. For example, to find documents which contain the words treaty, convention or international agreement you would type: treaty or convention or international agreement. If you wanted to, you could even put these two searches together - as in: treaty or convention or international agreement and moral rights and copyright.

For more in-depth information see the Search Operators Chart and Common Words List (words that are not searchable unless preceded with a # or + sign).

If you want to find two words or phrases which appear close to each other (for example, the parties to a case), you can use the near proximity operator. If you wanted to find cases where Smith sued (or was sued by) Brown, you would type: smith near brown.

The near proximity operator finds two words or phrases within 50 words of each other. For information on the other proximity operators available, see the Search Operators Chart

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