Principia Cybernetica Web

Common Search Errors

Typical mistakes when searching in PCP Web:

Wrong spelling
e.g. "Weiner" instead of "Wiener", "Bertalanfy" instead of "Bertalanffy" or "optimalty" instead of "optimality". Make sure you know the spelling of names, and check your typing. If you are not sure about the ending of a word, leave the last part out. E.g. "Bertalanf" would find both "Bertalanfy" and "Bertalanffy"
Searching for phrases
The PCP web search engine only searches for exact strings, not for approximate phrases, like most search engines (e.g. AltaVista, Lycos, WebCrawler, etc.). If you are not sure about the exact phrase just use the most important words. E.g instead of searching for "what is systems theory?", search for "systems theory". The latter will find a document called "What are cybernetics and systems theory?" which would not be found by the former search.
Searching with an implied "or"
A search containing different words e.g. "cybernetics systems evolution" will only find nodes that contain ALL these words (which is unlikely). This is different from common search engines (e.g. AltaVista, Lycos, WebCrawler, etc.) where the occurrence of ANY of those words in a documents will add points to the relevance score for a search. If you would like to use such a relevance search, use the AltaVista search of PCP-Web on the index page.
Too specific search string
Don't put too much information in your string if a more general string is likely to find what you are looking for. E.g. looking for "W. Ross Ashby" will miss all references to "W. R. Ashby" or "Ross Ashby". Better search for "Ashby" instead.
Searching in "titles" for words that exist only in the "full text"
The default (first) search in PCP Web will only examine titles of documents. Not generally used words are unlikely to be part of a title, but may be present in the full text of a document. For example, you won't find any reference to "Wiener" (the founder of cybernetics) in a title, since there is as yet no node devoted to him, but plenty of references in nodes on the history or bibliography of cybernetics
Using punctuation and other marks
The syntax of PCP web does not understand any specific punctuation marks, such as quotes, ",", ":", ".", "/", etc. Using these signs will mean that they will be interpreted as part of a string. E.g. the search string "cybernetics/founder" will find neither "cybernetics" nor "founder". It is very unlikely you will find strings with punctuation marks, so best leave them out altogether.

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