C&I now includes live index

As discussed in a previous post, I was pondering whether to add ads (back) on this site–and whether to add a search box to Cites & Insights. From what I could see, the only free search that would work for the site (given that it’s got a lot of files taking up a lot of space) is Google Custom Search Engine.

Not that I have mixed feelings about Google, or anything…and, hey, what better time to use a free Google service than the day after I publish an essay segment about Google blowing it with buzz?

Anyway, I’m going to try it out. You’ll find a “Search” tab in the tabs at the top of the page and a search segment right below the sponsorship/donation blather and above the promo for C&I Books. It’s a Google search, so Google syntax applies (I guess).

Right now, the CSE is searching both the entire C&I site and the entire Walt at Random site. Depending on your feedback and other unknowns, I might change that to exclude the blog (which does, of course, have its own internal search box).

Things I’ve already noted or am unsure about:

  • I know Google indexes PDFs. I’d always thought that indexing was limited to the first 150K or so, but that does not appear to be the case. Test case: the string “good enuf rvlutn” appears on the last page of the largest PDF in the history of C&I (10:1), and the CSE search works just fine.
  • The initial results are embedded in a division of the home page and are strange in a couple of ways–the C&I Books footer can become part of the sidebar (for some results, not for others), and the PDF results all show “Cites & Insights” as a link (you’ll see the actual filename in the browser if you’re hovering over the link) and “citesandinsights.info” as a footer, which is less than ideal, but again the price is right.
  • However, if you click on “More results,” you’ll get a standard Google-style page, with the specific filename at the foot of each result, the [PDF] prefix before Cites & Insights, and the ability to view the PDF as HTML using Google’s own viewer–but that viewer may not work! You can also, at that point, pass the search along to the open web.
  • I’m not sure it’s picking up all the HTML versions…
  • There are a LOT of context-sensitive ads, both above and alongside the results.

The search box should be wide enough for anybody’s taste…

Comments? Should I take Walt at Random out of the search results?

2 Responses to “C&I now includes live index”

  1. Frank Wong Says:

    Walt,

    I had no technical problems using the Google custom Search; having this “free” service does make the content more findable.

    While I am still thinking about it, my first thought is that including “Walt at Random” by default could give more interesting results. “A have your cake and eat it” may be to include instruction on the way to limit searches to one site.

    Best
    Frank

  2. walt Says:

    Frank: Adding any sort of instructions would complicate the home page (and seems out of alignment with The Google Way). The Google syntax for excluding a site should work just fine…


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