Search and Thee May Find - How to Find “Lost” Articles
By Mike Stillman
Have you ever wanted to look back at an article you read on this or another site ages ago, but you can’t find it? Or, have you wondered whether that site ever had an article on a particular topic of interest? If so, I have a backdoor way of maybe being able to find the article.
All sites have some sort of listing of their archives, but most don’t have a true search engine. This site is included, and I’ll have to speak to management about it someday, but in the meantime, is there any way to search for that old article?
Most sites will list their archives in one of two ways: (1) by date, or (2) by title. Date is fine if you remember the date of the article you want to see. The odds of this being true are small, in which case this type of listing is useless. The other, employed by this site and others, is to list them by title. That’s fine if you remember the title (likelihood roughly zero), or the subject you are looking for is the title. But, some titles are more clever than informative, and if you are interested in a secondary point, it wouldn’t be in the title anyway. What to do?
Here is a way I have found to use the Google search engine with the Americana Exchange and certain other sites. It may work with some other search engines as well, but I tried MSN, AOL, and Alta Vista with no success. One last caution. This method may or may not work with the archives of other sites. It all depends on how those archives are set up. If the pages are visible to Google, it should work, but if they are in a format that this search engine cannot find, it will not. Fortunately, the AE archives are visible, and I’m sure that the archives of many other sites are visible as well.
Here’s an example. Last year, the AE ran an article on the auction of a portion of Steve Forbes’ book collection. I don’t remember exactly when, nor what the title of the article was. I looked in our alphabetically arranged archives but couldn’t find it under either “S” as in “Steve,” or “F” for “Forbes.” With 24 more letters to search, I might be tempted to give up. Instead, I will go to the Google search engine, at www.google.com, and search there.
I might try first looking up Steve Forbes, since that should find it. It will, but unfortunately, it is buried among 367,000 other listings. I should have expected this. After all, the man also ran for president. I’d rather look through 26 pages of alphabetical listings on the AE site than 367,000 listings on Google. This is no help.
We can refine this search by putting Mr. Forbes’ name in quotation marks like this: “Steve Forbes.” The earlier method gave us every site with the names “Steve” and “Forbes” somewhere on them. So, someplace in those 367,000 listings was an article in Forbes Magazine on beloved wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin.