Two ways to think about Global Search on your Moodle site…
For a number of years Moodle has had a Global Search option, but this was beyond the reach of many ordinary Moodle administrators as it required the installation and setup of Solr on the server.
Solr is excellent, and powers the search and navigation features of many of the world’s largest internet sites. However, it is complex for non server admins to setup, which you can probably see from the Apache explanation of Solr:
Solr is highly reliable, scalable and fault tolerant, providing distributed indexing, replication and load-balanced querying, automated failover and recovery, centralized configuration and more.
Wow! Solr is a sophisticated system, and probably overkill for the average small to medium size Moodle site.
Moodle 3.5 introduces an alternative search option termed Simple Search.
The advantage of Simple Search is that it just needs activating and some quick configuration in Moodle, something any competent Moodle administrator can do.
Once enabled, a magnifying glass appears near the user menu (although this is Theme dependent so could be hidden or located elsewhere) which will expand once you hover over it, and you can then enter your search term 🙂
You can search for your courses, activity information and some activity content including forum posts, book chapters, glossary entries, wikis, and HTML Block content.
The functionality of the Simple Search is quite effective, and probably all that is needed for many Moodle sites.
However, for those of you that are confident in your server skills, do note that the Solr search is more powerful than the Simple Search function, and you can use boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine or exclude keywords, and wildcard characters (* or ?) to represent characters in the search query. Solr can also index the content of files, such as File resources and attachments to Forum posts.
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