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From "Steven Parkes" <>
Subject RE: Wildcard searches with * or ? as the first character
Date Tue, 13 Mar 2007 18:38:34 GMT
It's possible to do leading wildcard searches in Lucene as of 2.1. See

-----Original Message-----
From: Oystein Reigem [] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 11:31 AM
Subject: Wildcard searches with * or ? as the first character


I have read that with Lucene it is not possible to do wildcard searches 
with * or ? as the first character. Wildcard searches with * as the 
first character (or both first and last character) are useful for text 
in languages that have a lot of compound words, like German and the 
Scandinavian languages.

Some systems do offer such searches, but at a penalty. I assume such 
systems sometimes do a sequential search of the text, which is slow, and 
sometimes a sequential search of an index, which might be a bit faster, 
but still quite slow.

But a slow search might be better than no search, as long as the user is 
aware of the consequences of doing wildcard searches starting with a 
wildcard character.

Any comments?


- Øystein -

Øystein Reigem, The department of culture, language and information technology (Aksis), Allegt
27, N-5007 Bergen, Norway. Tel: +47 55 58 32 42. Fax: +47 55 58 94 70. E-mail: <>.
Home tel: +47 56 14 06 11. Mobile: +47 97 16 96 64. Home e-mail: <>.
Aksis home page: <>.

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