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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Navigating Within Wikipedia

There are two basic ways to find interesting articles in Wikipedia: Do a search, or browse, starting from the Main Page. Wikipedia has lots of organizing features depending on how you want to browse, like overviews, portals, lists, indexes, and categories. But for a bit of amusement, you can also try a couple of unusual ways to go from article to article, as discussed in this section.

Searching Wikipedia

On the left side of each Wikipedia page, you’ll find a box labeled “search”, with two buttons—Go and Search. Wikipedia’s search engine is widely acknowledged to be not particularly good. Your best bet to find what you want is to type the title you’re looking for into the search box, and then click Go (or press Enter). If you’re right, and Wikipedia finds an exact match, you’ll be at that article. If it doesn’t find an exact match, Wikipedia provides you with a link to “create this page”, which you should ignore if you’re searching only for reading purposes. It also provides you some search results. Figure B-3 shows the result of a failed search for the title Institute of Institutional Research, including the start of some best guess results).

Note

If you click “Search”, for curiosity’s sake, you’ll just get some so-so search results. For example, if you search for Reagan wife, the article Nancy Reagan shows up 6th and Jane Wyman shows up 16th. Worse, the context Wikipedia’s result page shows is terrible. With a Google search, by contrast, you can get these ...

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