How The Fuzzy Search Option Works...
This KnowledgeBase item gives a very good explanation as to how the Fuzzy Search option works in Notes, and how you can manipulate it to get the level of "fuzziness" you want...
How Does the Fuzzy Search Option Work?
In the Notes client, the Fuzzy Search option is available on the Search Bar of a full-text-indexed database. What type of results does the Fuzzy Search option generate?
The power of Fuzzy Search is to find results that are not an exact match to the query term. Fuzzy Search logic can be thought of as an "Expanded Or" search that allows users to find as many of query terms as possible but not necessarily all of them. Fuzzy Search logic performs searches based on the similarity of character string but not based on meaning. The Fuzzy Search logic used by the Notes Client allows specifically for text searching in which the logic has the ability to recognize incomplete hits in a document's text.
This can be very important in the context in which documents contain errors or variables in the words or terms. For example, documents that are converted through optical character recognition (OCR) may have many unrecognized characters within the words. These types of errors can not be completely compensated for by wildcards and word stemming because there is no way to predict where the errors may occur. If the error occurs in the stem word, the wildcard character and word stemming methods are ineffective. Fuzzy Search logic determines that, if the hit term has at least some of the characters of the query term, it may be a valid hit.
Fuzzy Search finds matches using the base word described in the Notes Client Help under the topic "Word Variants" (as shown in the Supporting Information section below). The size of the base word is determined by the parameter Matchinglevel but must be a minimum of three letters long and starts from the left side of the query term. The Matchinglevel parameter determines what percent of the word needs to be matched. The default value for this parameter is 75%.
Using the example "Rossberg", 75% of the word to match would be Rossbe. If a user types in Rossburg with an "u", documents containing Rossberg with an "e" are not returned because Rossberg does not match 75% of the base word.
To change the Matchinglevel parameter, in a Search bar, type in the following:
matchinglevel XX searchword
where XX is a number between 5 and 95, and "searchword" is the word to match. Typing zero for this number yields zero matches for the base word, and 100 yields only exact matches. Matchinglevel and the number must be entered to the left of the word to match.
In the case of double letters, a word will be returned if one of the letters is missing. Using the Rossberg example, searching on Rosberg with one "s" will return documents containing Rossberg with two "s".
NOTE: Fuzzy Search is not designed to work on small words. Using the example of searching for the names James and Janet, if Janes is the search word and matchinglevel is set to 40%, the resulting base word is "Ja". Fuzzy Search will not work with a base word of this size.
Examples of different types of search done by Fuzzy Search:
Various expression of phrases
Search for: new technology
Returns: new CMOS technology
Search for: user requirement
Returns: user group requirement OR user has a requirement
Search for: Califorrnia (misspelled)
Returns: California (spelled correctly)
Search for: Palalto (misspelled)
Returns: Palo Alto (spelled correctly)
Example of Inflection Searching
Search for: communication
Returns: communicate OR communicating OR communi-cation
Search for: Study
Returns: studies OR studied OR studio
Note: for Fuzzy Search results on query term Study, studio is a valid result but may not be a result expected by the user.
Search for: database
Returns: data-base OR data base
Search for: run-time
Returns: runtime OR run time
From the Notes Client Help (R5):
Use Word Variants
This option finds words with the base word + certain suffixes. For example, a search for "swim" will also find "swims," "swimming," "swimmer," and even "swimmed." It will not find the variation "swam," however, because the base word has changed, or "swimmet," or "swimsed" because the suffixes are not acceptable with that word.