Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Working With the Mocavo Search Engine Sliders - Post 1

One of the recently added features of the search engine is the use of sliders to vary the search parameters.  I explored some of these capabilities today and want to share what I found.

After logging in (I have a complimentary Mocavo Gold account), here is the home page with a first name, last name, and a keyword entered into the Basic search form:

I clicked on the green "Search" button and saw my results:

There were 44 results for my search terms.  On the screen above, there are slider "Filters" under the two names and four slider "Filters" over on the left side of the page.  The sliders are for each "Filter:"

*  First name = "Exact," "Similar" and "Initials or Similar"
*  Last name = "Exact" or "Sounds like"
*  Proximity = "Exact," three intermediate settings, and "Far"
*  Freshness = "New," "1 Week," "1 month, " "3 months," "6 months," "1 Year" and "All Time"
*  Keyword Appearance = "Only Title," a mid-point setting, and "Only Content"
*  Dataset Size = "Small," a mid-point setting, and "Large"

For the Basic search on the screen above, the settings were First Name = "Exact," Last Name = "Exact," Proximity = "near Exact," Freshness = "All Time," Keyword Appearance = mid-point," and Dataset Size = "mid-point."

I clicked on the "Show Advanced Search Fields," and more search fields - for "Event," "Year," "Month," "Day," "Range" and "Location."  I took out the Keyword and added a Location to that search field. The search results screen adjusted immediately:

I received 70 search results after doing that one change, and the sliders remained the same.

I moved the slider for Keyword Appearance setting to "Only Content" and saw:

There were 91 results with the "Only Content" setting.  That's confusing to me.  I don't have a Keyword in the search.  Is the Location acting as a Keyword?  If I move the slider back to "Only Title" there are no results.

The slider settings make a big difference, and the results from one search to another for the same search terms may be different if close attention is not paid to all six slider settings.

Some questions arise about these settings, such as:

*  How are First Names "Similar"?  I understand Initials and Exact.  Is there a First Name dictionary that chooses what is Similar?

*  How are Last Names "Sounds like"?  Is this a Soundex match only?  Or are other algorithms used?

*  How does the Proximity setting work?  "Exact" is understandable.  How far is "Far"?   What are the three gradations between "Exact" and "Far"?

*  Freshness is very clear to me!

* Keyword title" is clear for "Only Title" and "Only Content."  Does the intermediate setting search both Title and content?

*  Dataset Size" - what is "Small" and "Large?"  What does the intermediate setting do - search them all?  Or those datasets not large or small?

The Slider Setting I really appreciate is the Freshness setting.   I like it!  It will be very useful if I can train myself to go through a list of names/locations on a regular basis (weekly, monthly or yearly).

I will do some more studying of these slider settings so that I can understand them better.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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