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MathGroup Archive 2005

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Re: Bug in Archive Searches

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg55864] Re: [mg55839] Bug in Archive Searches
  • From: DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 01:36:41 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <200504050400.j35403II017831@localhost.localdomain> <200504070910.FAA12974@smc.vnet.net> <acbec1a40504070600728a814f@mail.gmail.com>
  • Reply-to: drbob at bigfoot.com
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

> Help does have an index, which is what Google has of the internet.
> Typing text in the master index will find terms from many different
> entries, so I wonder if it is accurate to say that help does not have
> search.

It's completely accurate to say Help isn't searchable. Read on.

Help articles have keywords; if you search for something that isn't a keyword, you're out of luck. Just as a single example, search for "rectangular" in Help. You won't find the VectorAnalysis package, which includes the phrase "rectangular coordinate system". If you search Help for the whole phrase, you won't find anything at all.

Look for "elliptic" (mentioned in the same package article) and Help won't find it. There are probably a thousand words in the article that are not keywords for that article.

NVariationalBound is not a keyword and ?NVariationalBound gets you no information UNTIL you have loaded the Calculus`VariationalMethods` package, whose Help article does, indeed, list that function. You CANNOT find it unless you already know where it is.

So... No, Help isn't searchable; it's merely indexed. It starts to be the same thing only if the keyword list for every article is reasonably COMPLETE. The situation has improved in recent releases, but keywords can never really replace search capability.

As for Google -- fine, if (a) WRI truly wants to outsource basic Help functions and (b) you're content to do a search that could take you almost anywhere.

Can I use Google to search 5.1.1 Help files only, for instance? If I search Wolfram's site, I'll get obsolete references to every Mathematica version -- or, as in my previous post, I won't find the thread I know is there, somewhere.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm a big fan of Mathematica or I wouldn't be here -- and a Help browser that executes code is nice to have.

But documentation needs to be searchable. Period.

Bobby

On Thu, 7 Apr 2005 09:00:16 -0400, Chris Chiasson <chris.chiasson at gmail.com> wrote:

> Help does have an index, which is what Google has of the internet.
> Typing text in the master index will find terms from many different
> entries, so I wonder if it is accurate to say that help does not have
> search.
>
> One way to search all forums on the Wolfram website is by using the
> site operator in Google.
>
> ex:
> "what I want to find site:forums.wolfram.com" (without quotation marks)
>
> On Apr 7, 2005 5:10 AM, DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com> wrote:
>> I've notified WRI several times that searches at pages like
>>
>> http://forums.wolfram.com/mathgroup/archive/2005/Mar/
>>
>> under "Search the Archive" do not return complete results. For instance, searching for "Bug in Import" doesn't find the recent thread on that subject. There are over 2 dozen messages on that very page, but none of them show up in the search results.
>>
>> In response, I've been thanked for making a "suggestion" and given this advice:
>>
>> > One way to work around this issue is to search MathGroup via Google. For
>> > example, if you would like to search for "Bug in Import", you could search
>> > for:
>> >
>> > MathGroup "Bug in Import"
>>
>> I was getting used to the fact that Help isn't searchable, but...
>>
>> Now I'm to believe text searches in the archive are too hard, as well?
>>
>> Bobby
>>
>>
>
>



-- 
DrBob at bigfoot.com


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