Search Help

Here are some tips to help you use Arcanum’s search feature to its fullest extent.


  • Ordering
  • Multiple Terms
  • Tags
  • Advanced Queries


After you perform a search, you can sort the results by date (either ascending or descending), but the default is to sort “by accuracy.” Any entry that contains the word will be listed, but the results will be ordered based on where the word appears. In descending order, the criteria are:

  1. Tags
  2. Body of entry
  3. Footnote
  4. Speaker

The search engine will determine all applicable areas and weigh the results using an algorithm, and similar words will return results for each other (cultivate vs Cultivation), so it’s not always immediately evident why the search results are ordered as they are. But this will tend to let the most relevant results rise up to the top of the search page, especially when you use multiple search terms.

Multiple Terms

Depending on how you format a search with multiple words, you will get different results.

  • Dalinar Kholin – returns all entries containing either word. An OR query.
  • Dalinar+Kholin – returns all entries containing both words. An AND query. Can also use “&”.
  • “Dalinar Kholin” – returns all entries with that exact phrase.
  • Dalinar&!Kholin – returns all entries with Dalinar and without Kholin.
  • Dalinar<->Kholin – returns all entries with both words, where Dalinar appears before Kholin.


If you use the “Search for tags” field on the Search Results page, you will get suggestions of existing tags in the database as you begin to type. Your search will only contain entries that have that tag. Be warned that the tag database is a living project, especially for new entries, so there is no guarantee that the entry you’re searching for has been tagged appropriately. But especially for main characters, this feature can help trim out a lot of entries that only reference them in passing.

Advanced Queries

Some PostgresSQL text search operators can be applied directly in Arcanum.

Modified by jofwu on Oct. 18, 2022, 3:37 p.m..


Welcome to Arcanum, the Brandon Sanderson Archive. We're here to collect everything Brandon ever says about his books--the "Words of Brandon," as they are called--with a focus on collecting information related to the cosmere.


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