12 September 2011

Options for searching this blog

I've noticed that the search function for this blog is no longer retrieving the most recent blog posts. I assume this is a temporary Blogger glitch that will eventually get sorted out. But in the interim, if you plan to spend some time searching in this blog, here are a few alternatives:

1. Browse by subject label: These are now displayed in the navigation bar on the right. I index every post with subject terms from the International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology (ITRT) (which hasn't been updated in a while, but that's a topic for a different post!). If there is one term in particular that captures a particular issue of interest, then a good way to look for relevant references is to browse by that subject term. See, for example, "development induced displacement," "gender-based persecution" or "country of origin conditions." This is certainly not a fail-safe method for identifying all relevant posts; Blogger sets a limit on the number of labels that can be assigned for each post, so I am not able to apply all potentially relevant terms. But the most significant ones are.

2. Site search: The ability to add labels only became available in 2007, so posts from Nov. 2005 through Jan. 2007 do not include them (I began using labels in Feb. 2007). Moreover, not all subjects are covered by the Thesaurus; "protracted displacement" is just one example. To retrieve references to this issue, particularly those from pre-2007, you will need to conduct a search. You can still use the site search in the navigation bar on the right. However, your search results will not include recent entries (i.e., from August and September 2011), such as this post from 26 August. The most recent hit is in a post from July 2011. A work-around is simply to browse the most recent postings, and use site search to locate older ones.

3. Custom search: If you prefer to conduct a more comprehensive search, you can use this custom search engine that I set up for the blog. The Aug. 26 post I mentioned above is the first result when you search for references to "protracted."

4. Google search: Another option is to use Google's general search engine; you can configure your search query as follows: keyword site:fm-cab.blogspot.com. Substitute "keyword" for your search term; for example: protracted site:fm-cab.blogspot.com. This option is useful because you can take advantage of Google's various search features. For example, you can sort your search results by date. To do this, conduct your search. Then click on "show search tools" in the navigation menu on the left. Select "custom range," then enter 2005 in the "from" field and 2011 in the "to" field. Click on the search button. You'll notice that two new options are now visible: "Sorted by relevance" and "Sorted by date." Click on the latter and your results will be re-ordered in reverse chronological order. (The disadvantage of a date sort is that more non-relevant hits will be included in your results.)

For your convenience, I will insert a link to this post next to the site search box (see "etc."). Then you can be reminded more quickly about the various alternative search options!

[Image credit: "Looking for a needle," HikingArtist.com (Flickr, 2009)]

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