Wildcards are symbols that can be used to represent other values or characters during a search for files or other information on a computer system. They also can be used to search for Web sites with search engines—programs that comb the World Wide Web to look for relevant Web sites, based on keywords or phrases entered by a user.
The ability to use a wildcard depends on a computer's operating system—for example, Windows, DOS or Unix—and the search engine being used. In DOS or Windows, a user could search for all files that begin with the letter L by entering "l*." In this case, the asterisk stands for any letter combination after the letter L. Entering "l*.txt" would initiate a search for all text-only files beginning with the letter L. By including a dollar sign after the keyword horse ("horse$"), a search engine would look for Web sites containing different variations of the keyword, such as horse, horsecar, horseshoe, horseman, and so on. Thus, by using wildcards, users are able to broaden the scope of their searches.
"Wildcard Character." Ecommerce Webopedia, February 10, 2001. Available from e-comm.webopedia.com.
SEE ALSO: Stemming
"Wildcards." Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wildcards
"Wildcards." Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wildcards
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"wildcard." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wildcard
"wildcard." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wildcard