Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Refining Search

Filtered search is a feature that has been around since launch but seems to be underused. To illustrate the power of this feature, I'll give an example.

If you're looking for information on Footnote about a specific John Smith, typing "John Smith" in the search box will give you a lot of results. There are results from all sorts of documents from different places and times. As of today there are 6338 search results. This is an unmanageable number of entries to review.

I know that the John Smith that I'm looking for served in the Revolutionary War, at least that's what I understand from the other documents that I've found. In order to limit the search I can either use the drop down on the search page or use the browse page to select a title (see screenshot to the left). In this case I want to look in the Revolutionary War Rolls.

This helps significantly to filter the results to only 2114 results. This is still a lot though so we should try to limit our search again. We're pretty sure that our John Smith grew up in Vermont and probably served from there... so using the browse page, we can further limit the search to Vermont Regiments.

With this additional refinement we now only have 26 results. These can be quickly browsed for valuable information.

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