Friday, July 27, 2012 has a New Look

The commercial website has a new look and search results.  I captured these screens today:

1) Here is the updated home page:

The Search Boxhas two buttons - "Keyword" and "Name."  Below the buttons are links for "Advanced," "Help," and"Browse Collections:"

2) If the user clicks on "Name" and"Advanced," the Advanced Search fields for a Name will appear.  I put Martin and Carringer in the Name Search fields. Other fields are "Keywords," and a "Year Range."  The user can narrow the search to records added in the last 1, 3, 6 months on one year, or search all records (the default):

3)  I clicked on the orange "Search" icon (magnifying glass) button and a popup window came up with Search Hints.  The user can watch a short presentation if they want to.  If not, just click the X at the top right of the popup.

4)  The biggest change and improvement (IMHO) is to the Results page:

There are three columns.  The one on the left shows the list of Categories or Titles (different Tabs) with matches.  The middle column shows a Timeline, the States involved, and Results type.

The right-hand column has the Search results - showing the record title, how the name is shown in the match, a thumbnail of the first page of the record, the number of pages in the document, annotations, etc.  I really like this column - rather than show matches for a person on, say, 45 pages of his Revolutionary War Pension File, you see one link to the document.

5)  I clicked on Martin Carringer's Revolutionary War Pension File title and saw:

This provides a larger view of the first page of the document and the film strip at the bottom. The user can magnify the image.  If you determine that this is not a document you want to see, you can click on another match document in the column to the left.

If you click on the image icon on the Search Results page, or on the yellow"View Larger" button in the screen above, you obtain the typical image page, with the Source information in the left-hand panel (can be collapsed or expanded), the film strip at the bottom (can be collapsed or expanded), with the document page image  in the right-hand panel.

I appreciate that has improved their search and their results page.  I think that is is a significant improvement because it's easier to navigate and adds some new features.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Anonymous said...

For military history research, the changes are simply horrendous.

Last week with the old search features I made note of the total search hits on a subject they were adding new images to. On July 20, I got 809 matches. Now, using exactly the same criteria, I get 510. That's progress?

My research interest is mainly in WWII weapons. Now, when I revise the search criteria, it takes me back to the main screen. It does not allow me to select WWII and return to that subject. Believe it or not, there were no bazookas in the Revolutionary War, but I have to reselect WWII anyway. What software can you think of that makes navigation a one way street?

When you go back after enlarging a thumbnail, it does not take you back to where you were and it doesn't highlight the previous selection. I have to write down where I was before. This is unbelieveably primitive. Maybe I should look for my abacus.

In the entire history of computer software, developers have striven to maintain backwards compatibility. I have lost most of the functionality that served me so well under the old search.

David Williams said...

Randy, thank you for reviewing our new search capability on!

As to the Anonymous comment, without the details we can only speculate, but the reduced number of matches is quite likely due to our no longer showing each individual page of a document as a match, but grouping them by document. The results page will now give a count such as “108 matches in 56 results”.

We will have a patch out this week to fix the disappearing category selections when a user revises the search criteria. That was a bug we did not catch earlier.

As always, please contact our support line if you run into problems.

David W.
Fold3 Product Manager