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Tech: Search function help

Michael S 07 Oct 08 - 06:46 PM
Joe Offer 07 Oct 08 - 07:50 PM
Michael S 07 Oct 08 - 08:44 PM
JohnInKansas 07 Oct 08 - 10:53 PM
katlaughing 08 Jan 09 - 12:22 AM
BK Lick 08 Jan 09 - 12:40 AM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Jan 09 - 02:50 AM
VirginiaTam 08 Jan 09 - 02:51 AM
Joe Offer 08 Jan 09 - 03:07 AM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Jan 09 - 03:15 AM
JohnInKansas 08 Jan 09 - 03:31 AM
Joe Offer 08 Jan 09 - 03:48 AM
Max 08 Jan 09 - 08:33 AM
maeve 08 Jan 09 - 09:00 AM
katlaughing 08 Jan 09 - 10:30 AM
JohnInKansas 09 Jan 09 - 02:04 AM
Joe Offer 21 Jan 09 - 04:10 AM
Max 21 Jan 09 - 05:47 PM
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Subject: Tech: Search function help
From: Michael S
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 06:46 PM

Hi all,

A question ... when I try to search the forum using the search function (including advanced search) I can't call up anything more recent than two years ago. This occurs even when I know that my search phrase appears in a thread title at the top of the current day's posts.

I do better when I use the filter function, which I learned about by reading the FAQ. I suppose this means I have no problem, but I'm wondering why the regular search feature would not produce current results.

Does the problem lie with Search, with my computer or my Mudcat settings, or with me?

Thanks
Michael Scully


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 07:50 PM

Hi, Michael -
I keep forgetting to add an explanation to the FAQ. Thanks for the reminder. I just posted this to the FAQ:

    Note:

    Our main search engine depends on an index which is supposed to be updated regularly. We had a crash in the summer of 2005 which corrupted our database of messages, and we have not been able to update the search index since them. Therefore, the Search function turns up only messages posted before 2005. For more recent posts, use the alternate search functions desribed above. The Filter is our best tool for finding things by thread name. You can use the Old Advanced Forum Search in our QuickLinks dropdown menu to find posts by message title or by the name of the poster.
Mudcat owner Max Spiegel says he's working on repairs for the search engine.
-Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Michael S
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 08:44 PM

Thank you, Joe. I can now tell my kids that I wasn't "doing it wrong."
--Michael


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 10:53 PM

It may be noted that Vista also uses an "indexed search" for ALL SEARCH FUNCTIONS. In default mode, only files in "My Documents" are indexed, and only index terms that Microsoft believes you should be looking for will be in the index. (And it can take weeks for Vista to complete the indexing on a new computer.)

There is an "Advanced Search" in Vista that you can tell to search file-at-a-time and there are limited "queries" you can use, but on my machine a "full search" that doesn't use the index can take up to six hours - and produces either NO RESULTS (even when I copy and paste a known filename into the "what to search for box) or returns a list of "all the files on the computer." Both of these results are equally useless.

Google also uses a more robust indexed search, so it finds almost everything; but it will only show you the "most popular" hundred or so of the several million results it knows about - again only useful if you're into celebrity gossip, sports banalities, or (currently) political mudslinging.

(Xmas is coming and I'm starting Grinch mode a bit early - maybe.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:22 AM

Since the search function has been repaired, at least I think that's what Max said, right? I am wondering why I cannot find anything for a certain posting which I am trying to date. It is signed with "Ms. also ran with the wolves" but using that or just a bit of it turns up nothing. Any suggestions or ideas? (Make me look a fool and post a link, please?!**bg**)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: BK Lick
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:40 AM

This what you're lookin' for?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 02:50 AM

I do most of my searching as a Google site search as recommended at some time in the past

Type in phrase or word in quotes then site:Mudcat.org - like this - "Ms. also ran with the wolves" site:Mudcat.org & this is the result


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 02:51 AM

The Filter is our best tool for finding things by thread name. You can use the Old Advanced Forum Search in our QuickLinks dropdown menu to find posts by message title or by the name of the poster.

I have used the Old Advanced Forum Search in the Quicklinks and still get little or no result. Also searching on a title can be a problem if same or near same song is named differently by different artists.

I have decided to google whole strings of lyric to see if any mudcat threads are generated, then search those threads for the lyrics I have.

At least until I suss why my Dell or BT Broadband is choking my searches in Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:07 AM

As I said in the FAQ, the Filter is our best tool for finding things by thread name. You can use the Old Advanced Forum Search in our QuickLinks dropdown menu to find posts by message title or by the name of the poster.

Whatever search engine you use, don't put too much in the search box. A distinctive combination of two or three words may be enough. Remember that some words have alternate spellings - if you pick the wrong alternate, your search won't find anything. Also, beware of things like ampersands and apostrophes that can gum up search engines, or fadas and other special characters. For that matter even the word "and" can gum up a search. Try to search for distinctive but ordinary words. After a while, you'll get the knack of it. I can find almost anything here most of the time - but then when I get cocky, I regularly fall on my face and get shown up by some young whippersnapper like BK Lick (who has never been known to fail).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:15 AM

Like many others, I was considerably relieved when Max recently announced that he had re-indexed the search engine to include threads from the last few years. To begin with it seemed to be working admirably, but in the last few days it has become obvious that a lot of stuff that used to be indexed is no longer found. Either something has gone badly wrong or I was mistaken to think that it had been working properly; I've been out of circulation for a few weeks, after all.

Poor VT is quite champing at the bit to post her lyric transcriptions (not too many at once, please; do take it slowly) but so far half of her new threads duplicate what is already here. We do need to avoid unnecessary repetition, as it just confuses people and adds to the enormous amount of redundant material already indexed, thus making future indexing harder, more unwieldy and more prone to future problems.

With luck this is something that Max will be able to fix now he's aware of it. Meanwhile, the best means of searching the forum is to use the search terms you'd normally use (a key phrase is often better than what you think the title of a song might be, but try several possibilities for best results) but run them through the advanced search function at Google combined with the word 'mudcat'. Not infallible, but a lot more reliable than what we have onsite at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:31 AM

In a fairly recent thread about Mudcat history, it was noted that the filter only returns about 100 results, so if there are a hundred more recent ones than the one you want, it may be "found but not displayed" a.la. Google general web searches.

Often, if you remember a name of someone who participated in a thread you want, searching for "posts by ..." (easy way: clicking the name in another thread) is a productive method. It helps when you use this method if you can remember approximately when you last saw the thread you want, so you can apply an "optical filter" in the near time-span.

("optical search," or "optical filtering" is also known as "eyeball it till something pops out at you.")

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:48 AM

My eyeballs aren't too good, John, so I use an alternative. I do a search that comes up with a good-sized number of results (i.e., not too specific in the search terms). Then a list turns up, and I use my browser's "find" [CTRL-F] function instead of my weary eyeballs. So, what I'm doing is a broad search and then narrowing it down by using "find."

-Joe-

P.S. I'll let Max know that people are having problems with the Search indexing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Max
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 08:33 AM

Hmmm, I'm going to have to take the mudcat offline for upwards of an hour to even begin to solve the problem. The issue is that because the forum is so big now (2.6 million messages in over 110,000 threads) that we have to index it in pieces. It would seem that the pieces are not aligned properly. I'll take a look at it today.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: maeve
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 09:00 AM

Thank you, Max.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:30 AM

Thanks, BK and Sandra! I used a different phrase, right after I posted, and found it, too, but I don't mind looking the eegit.:-) I had copied the piece and had it in my offline files, but I didn't copy the thread name or url, so had no clue when I wrote it; didn't even remember writing it!

Joe, I do the same thing, using the Find function.

Thanks, Max, much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 02:04 AM

Joe and kat -

The reason that sometimes you have to use the eyeball search instead of Find is that the reason you didn't find it in the first place and had to resort to the "posts by" list is that you're remembering the thread titled spelled wrong differently than the person who started the thread spelled it wrong.

Right?

Of course I'll agree that you usually shouldn't resort to doing it the hard way until you've tried the easy stuff first.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:10 AM

I got an e-mail from Max today. He says he thinks he has the search index problems fixed completely, and it should be up-to-date and working properly.
Thanks, Max.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Search function help
From: Max
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 05:47 PM

Beat me to it Joe.


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