Search Tips for iGenie, Anyone?

Discuss aspects of the new digital access to all back issues of Genii and anything therein.

Postby J-Mac » 01/04/11 12:52 AM

Well I can search the internet like no one alive, plus I have two separate desktop search engines and I can make them hum pretty well also. But old Ask Alexander has me pretty well stumped!

I am trying something simple - like "September 2010", or "Volume 82", terms like this to attempt to move around to issues I would like to peruse. I keep getting results like Volume 54 of Genii, or Vol 71. I even got Volume 1 for a few searches! None of the standard search rules I am accustomed to seem to work at all on the Ask Alexander site. Boolean searches dont return any relevant results; nor does Regex search terms. Also, I dont see any Help area or link on the site; am I somehow missing it?

If anyone here has any tips that can help at all with searching please let us all know!

Thank you.

Jim
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Postby J-Mac » 01/04/11 01:01 AM

Aha - one answer I found is that the database only goes up to 2008. I didn't realize that. OK, let me try a few more that are within the available date span.

BTW, are later issues to be added later? Or will the database always be a few years behind?

Thanks!

Jim
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Postby Scott M. » 01/04/11 01:17 AM

Hi Jim,

I'm no computer expert and am not privy to whatever changes may or may not be in the offing at Ask Alexander/Conjuring Arts. But I'm not sure there is a lot more than you can be doing right now than you are doing. Yes, when you do what you think is a narrow search you get a lot of responses. Failing a change in the search architecture, I think the medium-term solution is a human one, i.e., human cataloguing of the various table of contents either by Genii or, as a kind of wiki, by us.

As for my searches, I've been finding a Genii issue reference through Magicpedia or even a Google search that brings up a reference at the Cafe, or here; calculating the volume number based on the year; and then guessing at the rough page number based on a 90 - 100 or so pages a month. Yes, it's a bit laborious.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/04/11 01:32 AM

Ask Alexander was developed as a research tool, specifically to search on all instances of a specific word or phrase (when placed in quotation marks).

It has some quirks, but these are all being worked out. This isn't some huge corporate-funded enterprise: Bill Kalush funds the whole thing out of his pocket! It's amazing all they've done so far, and improvements will continue to be made.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby J-Mac » 01/04/11 03:00 AM

I understand Richard. I'm not complaining but asking if anyone had found any methods that have helped. No matter how primitive the search may be currently there are most likely ways to make it at least a bit more useful as is. If enough of us share some methods/tips etc. maybe we can narrow down some of the results.

Presently if you are searching for a relatively common title or term the results can be overwhelming.

Thank you.

Jim
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Postby Philippe Billot » 01/04/11 03:50 AM

When I'm looking for something in IGenii, I always use quotation marks. It's preferable.

For instance, I don't remember what is the Bernard Coin Box.
I write "Bernard Coin Box" and in two secondes, I have two references in Genii Vol. 29, page 458 and Vol. 35, page 594.

But, be careful, there are characters (typ) that are not recognized, specially cover titles or adds.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/04/11 08:23 AM

Check the AskAlexander Forums. I think there are some tips for searching there too.
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
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Postby J-Mac » 01/05/11 01:49 AM

I've been reading the forum there. Kinda sparse, and a lot of the comments are really old.

Jim
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Postby Dan Smith » 01/05/11 11:29 PM

Jim,

Have you read the Using Ask Alexander posts in the forum? There are 3 articles on searching (with pictures!) and another article on the limits of OCR. You'll learn to search on specific metadata such as author or title, exclude search results that contain certain words, and specify alternate spellings (ed|edwin|edward marlo). The search engine is quite powerful.

Genii issues through 2009 are now available too! 2010 issues are only available in print.

One of the biggest hassles of using iGenii archives right now is that the documents are only broken into volumes, not individual issues. This makes navigating to pages difficult and time consuming. There's a project underway to split out these issues -- and you can help! Contact me at admin@conjuringarts.org if you can spare some time to identify the page numbers for each issue within the volumes. If we split the work amongst a handful of volunteers these volumes can be split out very quickly..


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