Search Help

To Get the Best Search Results
Here are a few general rules of thumb to help you get the best search results. Use these basic tips when doing a search.

Using Search
Using our Search feature lets you ask a question and get information about a specific subject on our website. You ask a question in the form of a "Search Query" which determines the number of results you receive and what "Relevance" they are to the subject you chose.

Choose Your Search Terms Carefully
The key to good search results start with carefully selecting the words and phrases you enter. Using words you think will appear on our Web pages will help provide a precise search. Be as specific as you can and include terms that are descriptive about the subject. A basic query can use words and phrases which should be separated by commas.

Use Appropriate Spacing & Case Sensitivity
Our Search feature recognizes spaces that you enter in the search box, so your query can include spaces. For example, enter retirement planning or financial plan.

Also, case-sensitivity is important in the query you create. Queries entered completely in lower case force the search engine to find all versions of the query terms. When both upper and lower case (mixed case) are used in a search term (i.e., CalPERS) or if all upper case is used (i.e., ACES) the search returns the exact matches only.

Quick Links
Quick Links are customized search results to pages that best represent the term you're searching for. Quick Links direct you to related and relevant information, and appear near the top of the search results page.

Refine Your Results
Your Search Results
will display all information available for general use (Interested Parties) as a default. If you would like to Refine Your Search, use the check boxes to expand or refine your search results by selecting one or more of the Views available. You can add or edit Views from the link options provided. Once your Views are set, you must re-enter your Search.

Include Special Operators
To build a more complex Search query you can include special "operators." The following operators can be used to expand or narrow your results.

  • + means and
    Include the + sign for results that contain all of the search elements you added.
    Example: Retirement + Financial Plan
  • * means wildcard
    Add an asterisk (*) to a word stem which will let you see all words beginning with your word stem.
    Example: type retir* to receive all pages that contain words beginning with retir, such as retire, retiring, retirement, etc.
  •  - means exclude
    Include the - sign for results that do not include a specific search term.
    Example: Retirement - Financial Plan
  • Including & Excluding Search Terms

    You can limit your search by excluding or requiring specific terms (words or phrases), or by limiting the areas of the document that are searched. A minus sign (-) immediately preceding a term excludes documents that contain the term.

    A plus sign (+) before a term means returned documents are guaranteed to contain the term. If neither sign is used, the results may include documents that do not contain the term, but meet other search criteria.

  • Using Quotes & Commas for Phrases
    To search for an exact phrase, use quotation marks around the phrase. A string of capitalized words is assumed to be a name. Separate a series of names with commas, however, commas aren’t needed when the phrases are surrounded by quotation marks.
    Example: "Health Benefits Program" and "Changes in Employment Status"

Understanding Search Lingo

  • Boolean Terms
    A search allowing the inclusion or exclusion of documents containing certain words through the use of operators, such as +, -, and " " (for phrases). Using the space bar on your keyboard is also a Boolean command equivalent to or. The Search engine will interpret this example query "retirement financial plan" as retirement or financial or plan.
  • Full-Text Index
    An index of the website containing every word of every document. This includes all Web files like Adobe Acrobat PDF files. When a relevant PDF file is found you will see a note saying "File Format: PDF." Adobe Acrobat Reader software is required to view a PDF file.
  • Operators
    A query can include special words that are used to indicate logical relationships between the descriptive terms, such as and, not, and or.
  • Search Engine
    This is a feature that searches the website’s content index and returns matches with results ranked in highest order of relevance.
  • Query
    A query is the search question or criteria submitted.
  • Relevance
    Assigns a relative ratio or weight to search terms from one to 100, where one represents the lowest and 100 represents the highest. The relevance ranks the results by how well a document matches the information you are looking for, measured by the Search terms used.
  • Search Terms
    Words or phrases that make up a search query.
  • Views
    CalPERS On-Line has information specific for our various Member and Employer groups. By selecting one or both of the Members and Employers Views, you’ll get information that is most relevant to you.

Dated: 04-05-2012