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Data Search
Database-style searching...
...without the database! offers two types of site searching, normal site search and a new type of searching called "data search".

Contents Benefits Who Should Use It Demonstration Policies Where To Go From Here Most people are familiar with normal site searching: a user searches your site to find the page that contains the keywords they are looking for. However, many sites would rather index lists of items (i.e. records) rather than entire pages. For that reason we've added a novel "data search" option to the industry leading site search engine.

For example, suppose you have a web site that contains recipes. A user comes by looking for recipes that use curry. The user enters "curry" in the search box and press "search".

A normal site search would return a list of your pages that contain the word curry. A data search would return the actual recipes that contain the word curry, complete with your formatting, icons, pictures etc.

While data search is more difficult to set-up than normal site search (you need to be very familiar with the HTML language), it has unique capabilities and can be a tremendous benefit to your users.

Major benefits:
  • Let your visitors see just the items they want in a list created just for them,
  • No database software required,
  • Nothing to download or install,
  • Fast and easy,
  • List items retain your format, and can include your own images/icons/logo/etc,
  • Just add some simple HTML to your site!

Use FreeFind data search to automatically create custom pages for each of your visitors listing just the information they are looking for. This is similar to running a database report, but is done without any database software - just by using the information already present on your site!

FreeFind data search is the easiest way of adding database-style searching to your site. It is much simpler than dynamically searching a DBMS, and, like all FreeFind services, the software runs entirely on our site. There is nothing download and nothing to run on your system.

Who Should Use It

To put it simply, people who have "lists of stuff" on their web site.

It doesn't matter what that stuff is. It could be favorite recipes, products for sale, family history bios, descriptions of other web sites, company addresses, etc, etc. If you have a list of stuff, chances are good that you'll want FreeFind data search.

For example, suppose that you're the webmaster of a "free stuff" web site. Your web site has a listing (paragraph, rating, and link) for each of the zillions of web sites that you've found on The Net that provide something for free. Up till now, your visitors have had to manually search through pages and pages of listings to find what they were looking for - a discouraging, tedious and error-prone process. With FreeFind data search they can simply enter a few keywords into the search field on your home page and instantly view a custom page that only includes listings which contain the desired words.

There are many other types of web sites that can benefit from FreeFind data search - basically any web site which contains a list of similar items. Some common examples:

  • A store with its product listings,
  • A company directory (like a yellow pages site),
  • A genealogy site with its lists of family member bios,
  • A web site directory (like yahoo),
  • Any site with a FAQ that's getting a bit too long (like ours!),
  • Etc, etc

Data search is not for beginners. Although it is very simple to use, you will need to know HTML well enough to:

  1. insert HTML comments in the correct places, and
  2. convert relative links to absolute links as needed.

If you are comfortable with this, then you're ready!


We use data search to implement the "FAQ and Reference" search option in our library. The items indexed include:

  • all the questions and answers in our FAQ,
  • the tags in the HTML tag reference and
  • the definitions in the glossary

This creates a great targeted search that no other search engine or database can match. To try it out you can use this search field, which will open the results in a new window:

As you can see, FreeFind data search provides a unique and useful service that is simply not available any other place on the web.


In addition to our standard policies, there is an additional policy for free accounts using data search: free account listings may not contain any banner advertising. This covers all types of ads including but not limited to commercial, non-profit, and link exchange ads. This is because our ad contracts call for no other ads on the results page, so we must enforce this policy strictly. Note that product listings are OK, just no general banner advertising.

If you have subscribed to the professional version of our service, then including your own advertising is OK.

Where To Go From Here
To use data search, you will first need to sign up. Then you will want to consult the tutorial Data Search Setup for detailed instructions on using data search.
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