How to use the search feature on ExPASy?
There are two different search features:
- Query all databases: with this search you launch a query across several SIB resources provided by different SIB groups and hosted at different geographical locations (see Figure 1 below).
- All databases: Select "Query all databases" in the drop-down menu above. If you click on the "search" button, queries will be sent to several databases in parallel. If results are found, links (incl. the number of hits) to the results will be displayed. This feature is selected by default.
Based on your query text, the portal tries to automatically detect the query type (e.g. UniProtID, UniProtAC, PDBID, EC etc. - refer to the interface documentation for more details) and sends the query only to those resources that support the query type. The detected query type is displayed above the query results (e.g. "Detected query type: PDBID"). You can then explicitly ask the portal to do a full text search by clicking on "Search again as text": this will usually involve more resources and potentially more results. If no query type is detected, the portal will send text queries by default.
- Categories (genomics, proteomics, etc.): In case you are only interested in resources within a different category (e.g. genomics), you can select this category directly in the search box. Consequently, the query will only be sent to a small number of resources.
- Individual resources: Rather than searching a set of resources, you can send your query directly to an individual resource, e.g. PROSITE or Selectome.
- Find resources (databases and/or tools): you can discover resources listed and annotated on this portal (see Figure 2 below).
If you are looking for a specific resource, e.g. to discover motifs in sequences, you can use the query item
"Find resources". Automatic completion of keywords, names of resources and also categories is provided. Please note that auto-completion starts once you have typed at least three letters and only works if you type slowly. Once you have found a resource, you will get a detailed description.
Exact match first.
The query helps to find your results by highlighting your search term in the result section. This will be the case if your search term finds an exact match in either the resource name, category, keywords or description. If an exact match returns a resource (i.e. match in the resource name), the list with exact matches is returned (example: UniProt). However, you can then expand the search by clicking on "Show more results" to detect more resources with similar search terms.
Detecting similar search terms.
The portal also applies some sophisticated searches based on similarity of terms (e.g. you miss-spell protein as "protain" or UniProtKB as "UniProd") - in this case, you do not see highlighted terms in the result.
Figure 1: Query all databases
Figure 2: Find resources