Every page of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction includes a search facility with two options.
To search the headwords, enter one or more letters or words in the search text box and click Headwords. This reports all entry headwords containing each word or part-word (separated by spaces) in the search text, at the start of a word within the headword. As above, each reported headword links to the relevant SFE entry.
For example, a search for the single character 9 gives the anime entry 9 plus other entries with 9 at the start of an included word in the header. A search for "isaac asimov" or "asimov isaac" returns all entries with both names in the headers.
A search can be restricted to a particular entry category using the pulldown menu to the left of the search text box. Selecting the special category "Checklist titles" (of which more below) has no effect on headword searching.
If a headword search reports only a single "hit" (as for example with a search for the unique surname "sladek"), the search engine loads the relevant entry straight away rather than leaving you to choose from a list of one item.
The Search Results page offers additional radio-button and checkbox options.
The radio button choice Search SFE or Search EoF allows searching of the SF Encyclopedia or the Encyclopedia of Fantasy respectively. If your search began from an SFE entry or other SFE page, Search SFE is automatically selected; if you were viewing an EoF entry page, the default is Search EoF.
Ticking the "Omit cross-references" checkbox before a further search excludes the many cross-reference entries that contain little or no actual information but direct readers to other entries. Thus "French, Paul" – an Isaac Asimov pseudonym – links to "Asimov, Isaac".
Global text search
To search the entire SFE text, enter a search word or phrase of three or more letters and click the Global search button. A list of entries containing the word or phrase should appear (or alternatively a "Search failed" report). Each reported headword links to the relevant SFE entry.
By default the search is for words or phrases beginning with the chosen search text. Thus searching for "king" would not find instances of "seeking" or "working". To extend the search to words or phrases containing rather than beginning with "king", enter "*king" instead.
In order not to strain the SFE web server with huge and pointless results lists such as all entries containing the word "the", this feature returns a maximum of 1,000 entries. If you hit the maximum, please try again with a more specific search term.
As above, a search can be restricted to a particular entry category using the pulldown menu to the left of the search text box. For example, when trying to find who wrote a particular novel it is useful to select the category Author, screening out possible appearances in Award or Theme, or mentions of adaptations under Film or Television.
The pulldown menu also offers the special category "Checklist titles", which restricts searching to italicized items in bullet lists, in particular the bibliographical Checklist appearing in every author entry. This further narrows down searches for a particular book title: for example, Second Foundation is mentioned in several entries which are reported by a normal global search, but with "Checklist titles" selected the author is immediately identified as Isaac Asimov.
If a global search reports only a single "hit", the search engine loads the relevant entry straight away rather than leaving you to choose from a list of one item.
Again as above, ticking the "Omit cross-references" box before a further search excludes the many cross-reference entries that contain little or no actual information but link to other entries.