Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2006 Issue

The 16 cylinder Keyword Search

Sa.june

Searching made easier!


By Bruce McKinney

Online searches are in the midst of a tectonic shift. eBay has made an intelligent science of sequential keyword searches by providing a single search field and the ability to build a string of terms that quickly narrow results to a few useful ones. In the hands of even the inexperienced such searches become highly intuitive once you realize you can do this. Adding the second term is an epiphany. Google does the same thing but is suffering through a period of irrelevant matches because it can not impose many limits on the content it searches. On eBay the lions are caged because listings are created in the eBay format. On Google they roam free in every form imaginable. Sites such as eBay that control the data fields have the ability to parse and search accurately and fast. Recently we added sequential searching to our keyword search and it works well. It in effect mimics the eBay intuitive search and is an important enhancement that's worth testing. On eBay you see material as it pours into the market. On AE, using this enhanced keyword search you see the past just as clearly. Because it is difficult for sellers to set starting prices and buyers to know what to bid, an intuitive historical approach is very useful to all participants. It is also very fast.

To begin with let's ask and answer the question "why should this matter to me?" On the net there are many ways to accomplish searches. In the AED, our database of almost 1.4 million full text records, we provide two ways to access data: via Keyword and Advanced Search. In Keyword you type in a term or two and search for records that contain these references. You can then add more terms to the same search to narrow results. It's fast so a trial and error approach is practical. It works well for the novice and even better for the pro. It's a violin or harmonica depending on your experience. Begin with a single term and add others to reduce matches to a manageable number. To add another term simply close the pop-up results window by clicking on the X in the upper right hand corner. The search screen is in the background and will again be visible. Then add another term and search again. The field progressively narrows!

If you are a member sign-in and select KEYWORD SEARCH from the menu that runs down the left side of the screen. If you aren't yet a member sign up for a $7.95 one week trial. Click here. Upgrade anytime during the week to regular membership and receive full credit toward a $14.75 monthly membership.

Keyword Search Preliminary Results Page with links to additional information



These searches are quick and unlimited so trial and error is a practical approach. Open search results by clicking on the blue links in the description field. Obtain instant estimates of current value simply by selecting records and clicking Get Current Estimate. It's that fast. All records are individually adjusted to current value, all selected records totaled and their estimates averaged. Any records found to be inappropriate can be deleted and the average current value re-estimated.

For members who wish to either buy or sell this or a similar item a GET AE Keyword link is also provided. Selecting this option calculates the frequency of appearance of terms in all selected descriptions and the resulting list becomes a term guide for keyword matches for buyers and a reference list for sellers building descriptions. It is very fast and useful.

It all begins with intuitive keyword searches.

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