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 > The Search Engine, a Tutorial

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pulsar

Lewisville, NC

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Posted: 04/12/05 01:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

(If you have a slow connection, you can use the scrollbar to move through the tutorial, rather than the links.)

The Open Roads search engine allows you to search all forums or specific forums over a specified time frame. You can also filter the results by username. The search engine searches thread topics, the body of posts or both. It does not search signatures and profiles. The following tutorial attempts to show you how to use the search engine.

To make it easier to use, the search engine now has two entry points. One is a quick search in which preset default criteria are used. The second is to an advanced search that allows you to set the criteria. I will briefly describe the quick search. A more detailed explanation of what the default criteria mean and how to interpret the results can be found in the advanced search portion of this tutorial. In addition, whether one uses the quick search or the advanced search, there is a new, very powerful, search within results feature that will be explained as a separate topic.

Quick Search
Advanced Search
Search Results
Search Within Results
Finding posts that your have made and those directed to you

Tom

* This post was last edited 09/24/08 09:29am by pulsar *   View edit history

pulsar

Lewisville, NC

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Posted: 04/12/05 01:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quick Search

Near the top-left of most windows is a Search: label followed by an input field.



Enter the keyword or phrase for which you wish to search. If you are initiating the search from within a forum, there is a checkbox below the input field that will allow you to limit the search to that forum only. Clicking to put a checkmark in that box will limit the search, otherwise all forums are searched. Click on the Go to the right of the input field to start the search. The search engine will do an exact phrase, entire message search of posts that have been made over the last 12 months. The Keyword: section in the next post provides suggestions about formulating a search.

Search Results
Search Within Results
Return to top

* This post was last edited 10/28/08 08:45pm by pulsar *   View edit history

pulsar

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Posted: 04/12/05 02:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Advanced Search

There are three steps in performing an advanced search: 1) Engaging the search engine by clicking on the Advanced Search link, which is found near the upper-left of most screens; 2) entering the search criteria; 3) clicking on either of the two Search buttons. The three steps are indicated by the red text in the body of the tutorial. The rest of the material is explanatory.

To initiate an advanced search, click on the Advanced Search link near the upper-left of most screens. It is to the right of the Quick Search Go button

Enter the search criteria.

The next screen contains input fields to accept your search criteria. If your computer is set up like mine, you will not see the entire window. Below the Search button, there is an Advanced Options section that allows you to choose time intervals and specific forums.

Keywords:
With one exception, you must enter something in this field. (See the comments in the Message Author section of this tutorial.)
  • Use short phrases that contain significant words. For example, search for Saturn toad instead of does anyone use a Saturn toad.
  • Upper- and lower-case letters are treated the same; i.e., WORD and word are equivalent.
  • Substring searches are not preformed. A search for toad will not find occurrences of toads.
  • An asterisk * can be used as a suffix wildcard. A search for toad* will find toad, toads or any other word whose first four letters are toad.
Keyword Match:
The search engine does not allow boolean operators such as AND, OR, NOT, +, and -. Instead, the two Word Matching options provide tools to help you manage the search.

Find posts with the exact phrase
  • Use short phrases (even one word) that contain significant words.
  • Punctuation is not important. An exact phrase search for truck, train would find both truck, train and truck train.
  • If an exact phrase search fails, try searching with one keyword and an asterisk *. A search for iq will fail. A search for iq* will find all words that begin with iq including iq and I.Q.
  • If the search still fails, try an all of these words search.

Find posts with all of the words in any order
  • This option is equivalent to a boolean AND or + search.
Search In:
These options let you limit the search to subjects (topics) as entered by the originators of the threads, or to the body of the posts made in the thread.

Entire Message
  • This is the default mode and instructs the software to search both the subject lines for the threads and the text of the posts.
  • Note: Entire Message does not include the signatures that may appear at the bottom of the posts.
Body Only
  • Instructs the software to look for matches in the bodies of posts.
  • Use this option when searching for a particular post that you know contains a specific word or phrase. This option eliminates hits that would result from matches in the subject lines of the threads.
Subject Only
  • Instructs the software to search only in the subjects (topics) entered by the originators of the threads.
  • Generally, do not include an entry in the Message Author: field. Any name other than the actual originator of the thread will result in no matches. This search only considers the first post in a thread.
Message Author:
The Message Author field is optional. This field allows you to limit the hits to posts made by a particular author.
  • As with the Keywords field, this field is not case-sensitive.
  • Unlike the Keywords field, the asterisk * cannot be used as a suffix wildcard.
Suppose you wanted to find all of the posts over the last month by a member with a username of Fast Eddie. Leave the Keywords field empty. Enter Fast Eddie in the Message Author field. Select Last 30 Days from the Date Posted drop-down menu.

Date Posted:
The Date Posted: drop-down menu allows you to specify a search period for up to one year, or to search the archives for posts that are more than one year old. The search range for current posts always starts from the present. There are several time intervals that you can indicate; e.g., Today, Last 7 Days, Last 3 Months. To search the archives, select the last choice, Archive - over 1 year ago. The default selection is Last 12 Months.
  • To find all of the posts in the archives for a given criteria, one most do two searches; one with the Date Posted field set to Last 12 months and one with this field set to Archive - over 1 year ago. Be aware that some of the forums are newer than others and threads posted prior to 9/4/2004 in the General RVing Issues forum were accidentally deleted.

Forum(s):
By default, the search engine looks at all of the forums. If you want to limit the search to one or more particular forums, you can select them form the Forum(s): scroll list in the Advanced Options section of the window. Holding the control (Ctrl) key down (PC users) while selecting allows you to make multiple selections. Mac user should hold down the Command key instead of the control key.

To perform the search, click on the Search button.

Search Results
Search Within Results
Return to top

* This post was last edited 07/12/08 06:36pm by pulsar *   View edit history

pulsar

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Posted: 04/12/05 03:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Search Results
If the search engine is unable to find a match for your search criteria, it reports Your search returned no results.

If the search engine finds match(es), it returns a page (or pages) of links to the posts that meet your search criteria. At the top of a page of links is a drop-down menu that allows you to sort the matches by Date Posted (the default), Author, Forum, or Subject..

Each line of a reported match contains multiple parts:
  1. Subject – the thread's topic as provided by the thread’s originator. Clicking on this link will open the thread and position the actual post in the viewing window.
  2. Immediately below the subject will be an unfromatted copy of the matching post. Since it is unformatted, URLs will be shown, but not active links or images associated with the URLs. Quoted material will be shown, but not the quote box. (This will make it nearly impossible to determine what part of a post is new and what part is quoted, or even if there is quoted material.)
  3. Author – The name of the user making the matching post. Clicking on the author’s name will open the member's profile.
  4. Date Posted – This field contains the date and time the post was made. If you are looking for a particular post, you should make note of this information. The author may have made several posts in a given thread. There will be a separate link for each of a author's post in a thread that matches the search criteria.
  5. Forum – This field contains a link to the first page of the indicated forum.

Some comments about search results
  • When the Search In: option is set for Subject Only, unlike previous versions of the search engine, this one will return a link only to the first post of a thread that matches. This prevents the ‘clutter’ that was produced when a link to every post in the thread was returned. It also means that you should not include a message author unless you really know who originated the thread.

  • Since the search engine looks at the 4UMS codes (used for formatting) that are invisible to the reader, you can occasionally get matches, but can’t find the matching word in the post. For example, any search for blue will get a match on any post that contains blue text in its body, so long as other criteria are satisfied, even though the word blue is nowhere visible in the post.

  • When the Date Posted field is set to Archive - over 1 year ago, all matching posts will be at least 1 year old and they will be locked. You cannot respond to them. Otherwise, the page of links to posts that match the search criteria look the same as the results for a search from less than 1 year. Note: The display of posts not on the first page of a thread now works properly.

  • Indexing of posts is done in real-time. Searches will include posts that were made as recently as 20 to 40 seconds prior to the initiation of the search.

  • The previous version of search results showed only a line or two of a matching post. Most often, the matching keywords were shown in bold print. The current version highlights keywords only if they are in the subject line. When I want to see the keywords, I use my browser's Find (on This Page)... function.

Search Within Results
Return to top

* This post was last edited 08/27/08 06:08am by pulsar *   View edit history


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pulsar

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Posted: 04/24/05 06:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Search within results

If a quick search or an advanced search produces results, you will have the option to do one more search through those results. Near the top center of each page of result links is an input field that allows you to enter keyword(s) and a go button to initiate the second search.



This new feature will not always be needed, but is extremely powerful. The original search is indexed and will only find ‘significant’ words. A search for and would find no matches. A Search within results looks at all of the text, including the subject, in the previously returned matches and will find matches for words that were not indexed. Moreover, this search will also look at ‘substrings.’ A Search within results would not only find the word and every time it occurs, but would also find ‘band’ and ‘standout’. That is, it would report results for any word in the text that contained the three consecutive letters and.

An example of using Search within results

Suppose you want to find a particular post made by 2oldman. You know that he made it within the last six months and he made it in a thread with a subject that includes the word observations, but he did not start the thread. (Recall: Entire Message and Subject Only searches return subject matches only for the originator of the thread. A Subject Only search for observations with 2oldman as the Message Author will be unsuccessful.) Here’s how to find the post.
  1. Enter the Advanced Search page.
  2. Enter 2oldman in the Message Author field. You could also adjust the Date Posted field and Forum(s) field if you know that information.
  3. Click on the Search button.
  4. The result pages will have links to all of the posts made by 2oldman that meet your date and forum criteria, if you entered any.
  5. Enter observations in the Search within results field and press the Go button.
A new result page will come up that contains links to all threads in which 2oldman included ‘observations’ in his post OR threads with a subject that included the word ‘observations’, in which he posted.

Additional Notes
  • Don’t use the wildcard *. It will be treated like any other character.
  • The results of a Search within results search are not searchable. However, you can use the browsers back button and repeat the Search within results with a different keyword.

Return to top

* This post was last edited 09/30/08 09:49am by pulsar *   View edit history

pulsar

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Posted: 04/24/05 07:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Finding posts you have made.
The easiest way to find all of the your posts from the last 12 months is to click on the My Posts link in My Forums
To review a list of recent posts or posts from the archive (over 1 year ago) set up a search as follows.

  • Leave the Keywords: field empty.
  • Enter your username in the Message Author: field.
  • Set the Date Posted: field for the time interval in which you are interested.
  • Set the other search parameters as desired. You could limit the search to a particular forum. You could limit the search to topics you have posted.

Finding posts directed to you.
I have long been an advocate of including a member's username when addressing a post to him or her. If everyone adopted that convention then it would be easy to check for posts directed to you. All you would need to do is enter your login name in the Keywords: field. Leave the Message Author: field empty. And click the Search button. This is an advantage of addressing members with their username. There is only one pulsar on the forum; there are many Toms.

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* This post was last edited 07/12/08 06:43pm by pulsar *   View edit history

MELM

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Posted: 04/25/05 07:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moving to Forum Announcements and Technical Support

wataw

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Posted: 03/02/10 02:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am trying to find instruction for removing & installing the seat & cover assembly on my AquamagicIV commode.

raghu

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Posted: 09/20/11 03:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi...

Basically, a search engine is a software program that searches for sites based on the words that you designate as search terms. Search engines look through their own databases of information in order to find what it is that you are looking for.

pulsar

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Posted: 09/20/11 04:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

raghu wrote:

Hi...

Basically, a search engine is a software program that searches for sites based on the words that you designate as search terms. Search engines look through their own databases of information in order to find what it is that you are looking for.


Welcome to the forum.

You have a good description for a search engine that searches the Internet for web pages. This forums search engine does search an indexed database, but it is looking for posts and threads that reside on this forum; it does not look for outside sites.

There are some things that are standard about search engines, but custom-written software, as the forum's software is, tends to have its own way of doing things. The purpose of this tutorial is to explain how to best use this search engine to find information.

Tom

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