spans in searching
To indicate an unknown span of words inside a phrase, use the % symbol. Spans may only be used within phrases, as follows:
% on its own means any number of unknown words, including none. The search: "Richard % Tonbridge" means find all entries in which Richard is followed by zero or more unknown words, then the word Tonbridge.
% followed by a number means that there must be exactly this number of words separating the search terms. "Richard %2 Gilbert" would retrieve all entries where two words occurred between Richard and Gilbert. It would, for instance, retrieve the 11 entries where Richard of Tonbridge is named Richard son of Gilbert.
% followed by two numbers separated by a colon means a range of unknown words. "Richard %2:3 Gilbert" would retrieve all entries where two or three words occurred between Richard and Gilbert. It would therefore retrieve the 76 entries where Richard of Tonbridge is named either Richard son of Gilbert or Richard son of Count Gilbert.
The Options tab in the Search form allows you to specify that a search using an unlimited span will return either (1) the hit with the shortest span; (2) the hit with the longest span; or (3) all hits.