How do I find stuff?

Since Bentley Communities came online, there have been various inquiries about how to find information. Some of those inquiries have included the comment:

"I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING!!!!"

or words to that effect :).

My advice to those asking has usually been something like this:

  1. Chill... take a deep breath.
  2. Use the site's Search function -- it works... it really works.

I have observed over time that searching for information is a combination of science, art, and a little bit of voodoo. Okay, maybe not the last part, but some seem to think that there is some trickery involved, when there really isn't. The science part of it is what to actually search for. Most search engines (including the one used on this site) will return pretty much exactly what you ask it to. If you provide too little or too much input, your search results will likely be poor. The same is true for too specific or too vague search criteria. My personal experience has been most successful when providing three "search words", each part of what I am looking for. For example, if I am looking for a specific forum on this site, and I know it is for MicroStation V8i VBA, I would use

V8i VBA forum

in the search field.

The better you choose your search words, the more likely what you are looking for will be on the first page of the search results. If it isn't, you can narrow your search down by selecting the respective facets in the faceted navigation options on the right-hand side of the search results page. That provides the ability to search within specific applications (e.g. wikis, forums, groups, etc.) on the site, within certain date ranges, or who authored what you are looking for, among other things.

Once you are satisfied with the results, you can even subscribe to that through RSS to have "dynamic results" delivered to you through an RSS reader.

If you are unsuccessful in finding what you are looking for, that is where "artistic creativity" comes in. Consider not using "common words" (e.g. and, to, the, etc.) Also, try using different words -- maybe ones that are not as specific. For example, if you are looking for a TechNote on a community wiki and search for:

EasyMultiInstall

and cannot find anything, use less-specific terms that also describe what it is you are looking for. Instead, try something like

XM upgrade wiki

Using the "quick search" (across the top of every page on the site), you can search within the scope of where you currently are on the site (the default) or within a specific community (including its sub-communities) or across the site. Simply select the button in the "quick search" return list.

There are many ways to find information on Bentley Communities, but your first option should be with the site Search. Go ahead, try it out -- I think you will be happy you did.

Anonymous