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(Boolean) "AND" / "OR" searching is now working on this forum!

(Boolean) "AND" / "OR" searching is now working on this forum!

Aug 22nd, 2002, 10:34 AM
  #1  
Rex
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(Boolean) "AND" / "OR" searching is now working on this forum!

Someone may come along and tell me I am crazy - - that it has worked all along, but I swear that it did not previously work.

But on a recent thread about hotels in Milan, there was a mention of hotels on "Via Dante" - - and lo and behold, these three searches really DO generate different and meaningful results:

"via dante" (works as you might expecet for via ADJ dante) retrieves eight threads - - each of which contains "via" adjacent to "dante"

"via and dante" retrieves 48 threads - - each of them contains both words SOMEwhere.

and

"via or dante" retrieves thousands - - I don't know the actual number but well over 2000.

Next test: nested ANDs and ORs?

This might signal a far easier (and more reliable) way to find old posts.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #2  
Rex
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By jove, I think it DOES work!

Try these:

Haines and Vilnius - 12 hits
Haines and Riga - 11 hits
Haines and (Vilnius or Riga) - 16 hits!

Good job, Danny and crew!
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 10:48 AM
  #3  
CantBeBothered
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Calling Dr. Bickers. One of your pediatric patients just died of old age in the waiting room.
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 10:50 AM
  #4  
problem
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THANK YOU!
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 11:41 AM
  #5  
Hey!
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Yes, Rex, you are crazy. (Well, predicted someone might say this, so don't complain.)
Rex, I think you've really got to get a life away from this board!
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 01:02 PM
  #6  
topping
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up
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 02:58 PM
  #7  
Walter
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Thanks Rex for pointing this out. These forums have so much 1st hand info in their archives, even compared to google.com. But it's often *so* hard too pull them up in a "text search".
Regards, Walter
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 07:25 PM
  #8  
huh?
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Can someone explain this?
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 07:35 PM
  #9  
PCM
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Rex, it has worked before, or at least within the last couple of months, because I've been using the function.

To explain: (Don't ask me what "Boolean" refers to -- thought it had to do with Oxbridge life) You can ask the "search" feature here to search for something with "Boolean" connectors and it will narrow the search for you to threads that have both (or either) of the words you want.

Example:

If you search on "Cambridge," you'll get the first 50 of all the threads that have the word "Cambridge" in them.

But if you search on "Cambridge" AND "hotel" you'll get all the threads that have BOTH those two terms in them, which may mean you will hit a lot about hotels in Cambridge, although you may get some with "Cambridge" in one post and "hotel" in another, all within the same thread.

If you search on "Cambridge" and "hotel or restaurant," you'll get all the threads either with "Cambridge" and "hotel" or with "Cambridge" and "restaurant" included.

See Rex's example with Haines/Vinius/Riga above.
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 07:38 PM
  #10  
PCM
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It occurs to me that what neither I nor Rex made clear is that you must use the actual word "and" or the actual word "or" in your search, to tell the program whether you want BOTH terms or EITHER term. And you can string together more than 2 terms if you use the "and" or the "or" with them.

Again, see Rex's example.
 
Aug 22nd, 2002, 08:29 PM
  #11  
Boolean Logic is cool
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Thank Rex, thats useful to know
 
Aug 23rd, 2002, 04:51 AM
  #12  
up
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up
 
Aug 23rd, 2002, 08:25 AM
  #13  
John H
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Rex,

I have played with this from time to time -- glad it now does work. Thanks for advising.

John H.
 
Aug 23rd, 2002, 12:09 PM
  #14  
Rex
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You're welcome, Walter and John H.

 
Aug 23rd, 2002, 12:25 PM
  #15  
PCM
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You're welcome, also.
 
Aug 23rd, 2002, 07:22 PM
  #16  
Rex
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The pedant in me was thinking to poast this tribute http://www.nifl.gov/susanc/boole1.htm - - to George Boole, thinking what a pity it is that so few people know who he was - - and when I reviewed it, it occurred to me - - gosh, I wonder if they have interested NOT!?

And sure enough they have!

Now for the first time ever, here's a way to search for "York" (England) for example, without getting all the threads that reference NEW York - -

"York NOT new"

It actually works!

Pretty cool. I bet there are a lot of other examples of how this might be useful.
 
Aug 23rd, 2002, 10:02 PM
  #17  
anon
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Forum - Europe
Text - castle not neuschwanstein
Topic(s) - Germany

An interesting list of threads
 
Aug 23rd, 2002, 11:16 PM
  #18  
Sue
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Very interesting, Rex and PCM. It never would have occurred to me to try Boolean logic here. I tried chateau NOT Loire and Loire still appeared in headings and messages.??
 
Aug 24th, 2002, 05:15 AM
  #19  
Rex
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Incomprehensible, sue. It almost seems that this ONE thread is VERY vexed:

Trip report: two weeks in Paris, Loire, Dordogne, Provence (Warning: nowhere near as amusing as Nevil's!)

It IS retrieved by "loire NOT chateau"

It IS retrieved by "chateau NOT loire"

It IS NOT retrieved by "chateau AND loire"!! though it clearly contains both words. the only thing I can figure is that it cotains "concatenated forms" of both words - - i.e. "Loire," (with the comma) and "chateau-hotel".

I still can't figure out how that would result in the output shown above.

But there has to be an explanation. Computers don't REALLY "make mistakes". They blindly follow rules programmed into them. If this is the only weirdness we can find, it's pretty minuscule.
 
Aug 24th, 2002, 07:29 AM
  #20  
topper
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