Facebook

The WSO Facebook1 is an online campus directory. It is accessible on campus without login and off campus by logging in with your OIT (Unix ID) username and password. Please report any strange behavior (after looking over the info below) to wso-dev [at] wso.williams.edu. The more descriptive your bug reports are, the easier the bug is to fix. Better yet, come to a meeting (join the wso-staff list) and help out!


Quick syntax guide for searching

Query Meaning
Ephraim all people whose profiles contain the string “ephraim” (case-insensitive)
Ephraim Williams (intersection) all people who match both “ephraim” and “williams”
Ephraim & Williams (intersection) all people who match both “ephraim” and “williams”
Ephraim, Hopkins (union) all people who match “ephraim” plus all people who match “hopkins”
Ephraim | Hopkins (union) all people who match “ephraim” plus all people who match “hopkins”
Ephraim Williams, Mark Hopkins all people who match “ephraim” and “williams” plus all people who match “mark” and “hopkins”
Ephraim, Hopkins & Thompson, Griffin all people who match “ephraim” plus all people who match “hopkins” and “thompson” plus all people who match “griffin”
(Ephraim, Hopkins) & (Thompson, Griffin) all people who match “ephraim” or “hopkins” and also match “thompson” or “griffin”
name: Ephraim all people whose names match “ephraim”
name: (Ephraim, Hopkins) all people whose names match “ephraim” plus all people whose names match “hopkins”
dorm: “Mark Hopkins” all people whose dorm matches “mark hopkins”

Parentheses can be nested to any depth. Labels cannot be nested. It doesn’t make sense to search only within the dorm field when already searching only within the name field, for example.


Search tutorial

To search for people in the Facebook, you can enter search terms to be matched in any part of their profiles. For example, searching for Williams yields everyone who lives in Williams Hall, all students from Williamstown (or any other town with “Williams” in its name), anyone with “Williams” in their name, etc.


Combining search terms

Single-word searches are pretty boring and often yield more results than you want. You can combine multiple search terms to create more powerful queries. The simplest way to do this is to separate search terms by space as you would in an internet search. For example, to search for the Ephraim Williams (as there are so many of them) who lives in Dodd, we would use the query

Ephraim Williams Dodd

or

Ephraim & Williams & Dodd

Let’s say we want a list of people living in the frosh quad. Alas, searching for frosh quad won’t do it, but neither will Williams Sage or Williams & Sage. What we want is

Williams, Sage

or

Williams | Sage

These will both yield all people who match “Williams” or “Sage”, or in other words, everyone who matches “Williams” plus everyone who matches “Sage.”

You can surround any of these operators (“”, “&”, “,”, “|”) with any number of spaces. Extra spaces will not change their meaning.


Quotes

One problem you may see with all this is that it could be hard to search precisely for multi-word terms like “San Francisco” or “Mark Hopkins.” In reality, it’s not often an issue, but in some cases we just don’t want as results everyone matching “Mark” and “Hopkins,” but rather “Mark Hopkins” literally. In those cases you can use what probably seems the obvious approach: quotes. A search for “Mark Hopkins” does the trick.


Labels

Another shortcoming of matching each search term against any part of a person’s profile is that some searches, like finding someone named William who lives in... Williams Hall, are pretty much impossible. Luckily, we have labels to help narrow a search. For our hypothetical William of Williams Hall, we would use the following query:

name:William & dorm:Williams

It’s quite likely that you could guess the right label name for the job, but here is a list of labels are currently supported.

Label Searches by Pertains to
building:

bldg:

, or 

dorm:
dorm (students) or building (faculty, staff) everyone
city:

 or 

town:
hometown students
class:

 or 

year:
class year students
country: home country students
dept:

 or 

department:
department faculty, staff
email: First.M.Last style email everyone
entry: dorm entry letter or number students
major: major (abbreviation) students
name: name everyone
neighborhood:

 or 

cluster:
campus neighborhood students
phone:

 or 

ext:
campus phone number everyone
room: room number students
state: home state students
title: title faculty, staff
unix: Unix ID everyone
zip: zip (postal) code of hometown students

Spaces after the colon (“:”) in a label are optional, but you cannot put a space between the label and the colon.


Parentheses

With the tools we have thus far, there are still some searches which would be difficult or annoying to do. For example, try to find all the people named Ephraim who live in the former freshman dorms that are now upperclass dorms (East, Fayerweather, Morgan, Lehman). Since the AND operators take precedence over the OR operators, we would have to type:

name:Ephraim & dorm:Lehman, name:Ephraim & dorm:Morgan, name:Ephraim & dorm:Fayerweather, name:Ephraim & dorm:East

I can tell you from experience (having just typed this), that it’s a pain. Instead, let’s use parentheses and do an equivalent search:

name:Ephraim & dorm:(Lehman, Morgan, Fayerweather, East)

That was not quite as bad. You’ll notice that, beyond the inclusion of parentheses, we’ve also made use of the fact that a label applied to a parenthesized subquery is applied to each of the terms inside that query. This is very handy, since it requires writing the label just once... In addition, you can nest parentheses as many times as you’d like and put spaces between parentheses and their contained search terms:

name:(( Ephraim, Mark ) & ( Williams, Hopkins) )

Precedence of operators

The operators discussed above group adjacent search terms in this order.

  1. “” — quotes
  2. () — parentheses
  3. : — labels
  4. & — ampersand and space (AND)
  5. |, — pipe and comma (OR)


1) The WSO Facebook actually predates Facebook.com by a bit and has been called “the Facebook” since its inception. To distinguish it from Facebook.com, which is commonly referred to as “Facebook,” refer to the WSO Facebook as “the WSO Facebook,” or “the Facebook,” for short.