Murray: No, Google's spider is not activated by your clicking the Search button. The spider's work has to be already done before you click the button. The spider hasn't worked on www.mudcat.org since Dec. 13.
Think of it this way: On Dec. 13, Google's spider took a snapshot of everything that was visible on Mudcat at that point in time. By "visible" I mean everything that it could reach by following links. It copied all this stuff and stored it on its own server, along with everything it had accumulated from > 2 billion other web pages. (It says so at the bottom of Google's main page.) Google must have some humongous servers!
It also created indexes of all the words it finds. So it has an index for "Jim" and an index for "Dixon." An index is just a list of all the web pages that contain a certain word. So when you search for Jim Dixon (with or without quotation marks) it compares those two lists to see which web pages appear on both lists. Suppose it finds the page "www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4587" on both lists. If you put quotation marks around "Jim Dixon" then it performs one further step: it looks at the whole page (not the page as it currently exists on the Mudcat server, but the copy from Dec. 13 on its own server) to see if the exact phrase "Jim Dixon" appears. If so, then it puts the following entry on its search results page. (I hope this works)
Who Is Steve Goodman?
... Subject: RE: Who Is Steve Goodman? From: Jim Dixon Date: 01-Dec-01 - 01:51 AM
I've been searching for all the Steve Goodman songs I can find in Mudcat. ...
www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4587&messages=57 - 101k - Cached - Similar pages
Now, if you click on "Who is Steve Goodman?" you will get the actual page from Mudcat, but if you click on "Cache" you will get Google's copy (which may be somewhat out of date by now).
I hope this makes it a bit clearer.
By the way, when preparing this message, I did to a search on "Jim Dixon," and I was amused to see that I appear to be a very busy person. For the record, most of those Jim Dixons out there are not me!