Failures while searching Church Magazines

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dmaynes
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Failures while searching Church Magazines

Postby dmaynes » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:47 am

tomw wrote:This forum will do fine. Thanks for pointing it out. I'll forward over to the team responsible for the online scriptures.


Is the same search function used for the Church Magazines that is used for the scriptures? If not, where should I provide feedback about search failures?

In the Liahona article: <<Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Guided by His Exemplary Life,” Liahona, Feb 1999, 34>>
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=f318118dd536c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=7ab255c49e0eb010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

Elder Wirthlin states

President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, once gave an excellent illustration of the importance of remaining loyal to the Savior and His instructions to us as given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is a large portrait of the Savior on the wall of President Monson’s office. President Monson said that whenever he is confronted by a difficult challenge he looks at the picture and asks himself, “What would the Savior do?”


I wanted to find this question by President Monson, but I couldn't find it in the magazines because the search for <"What would the Savior do?"> returns no hits (the phrase needs to be entered in using quotes), even though it is lifted as a direct quotation from Elder Wirthlin's talk.

Thanks,
Dennis

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:51 am

dmaynes wrote:Is the same search function used for the Church Magazines that is used for the scriptures? If not, where should I provide feedback about search failures?


It is not the same search function, and so this post doesn't really fit the Online Scriptures forum. So I moved this thread to the LDS.ORG forum.

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Postby lajackson » Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:27 pm

dmaynes wrote:I wanted to find this question by President Monson, but I couldn't find it in the magazines because the search for <"What would the Savior do?"> returns no hits (the phrase needs to be entered in using quotes), even though it is lifted as a direct quotation from Elder Wirthlin's talk.


Not to answer the search question, but to help you with the quote.

I search for words and never include punctuation. For example, if you search in the Gospel Library for (with the quotes) "would the savior do" you will get 19 or 20 hits, including Elder Wirthlin's talk in both the Ensign and the Liahona.

Like you, I recall President Monson saying that.

Whether Elder Wirthlin's quote is correct or not, if you search for "what would he do", using "he" instead of "the savior", you will find the quote you are seeking.

I do not know if a search engine should be expected to try pronouns in place of proper names. I rather suspect they would not be programmed that way.

This is an old journalism trick, by the way. Take the quote (which I have always assumed is never exactly correct, however well-meaning) and modify it a little to see if you can find what you are looking for.

In this case, it worked.

As for Elder Wirthlin's talk, if the correct quote was "what would he do", then it should have been printed "what would [the Savior] do". If you ever see this in a quote you have trouble locating, start by replacing the words in brackets that the author has already indicated have been modified in the quote.

Quotes are always troublesome to journalists. For example, I have rarely been quoted correctly.

dmaynes
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Does a search for "All Church Content" include the scriptures?

Postby dmaynes » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:53 pm

lajackson wrote:Not to answer the search question, but to help you with the quote.

I search for words and never include punctuation.


Thank you for your insight. I would think that the search would be more robust and user friendly if it forgave the presence of punctuation. It seems like this would be quite simple to do by stripping the punctuation from the search phrase.

Whether Elder Wirthlin's quote is correct or not, if you search for "what would he do", using "he" instead of "the savior", you will find the quote you are seeking.


Yes, I found the quote just as you described. Elder Holland had a nice description in the June 2008 Ensign.

******

I have another question for any that might be reading. When the search states "All Church Content," does it include the scriptures?

I searched for <"no one can assist in this work"> (from D&C 12:8). The search says that "All Church Content" is listed, but D&C 12:8 is not listed in the returned set of references. I'm wondering if this is broken. There is a link that allows you to "filter by the Scriptures" and when you click that link D&C 12:8 will be returned.

Thanks,
Dennis

dmaynes
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Parsing error in the search database with dashes?

Postby dmaynes » Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:17 am

Alan_Brown wrote:It is not the same search function, and so this post doesn't really fit the Online Scriptures forum. So I moved this thread to the LDS.ORG forum.


Dashes that are present in the text appear to not be parsed or handled correctly. For example, I performed the following two searches:

<<two hills alberta canada giving getting bloom>>

The above search returns President Monson's December 2008 message, in both the Ensign and the Liahona.

<<two hills alberta "canada" giving getting bloom>>

The above search returns no hits.

The problem appears to be that use of quotes suppresses the stemming function in the search engine. An exact word match must be found. The exact word "Canada" is not found in the above search because it is followed by a dash (usually represented as two hyphens).

It may be that dashes in the text are treated as hyphenated words.

As an example with the same text, consider the following phrase search (searching for the quote of President McKay):

<<"True happiness comes only by making others">>

5 hits are returned.

<<"True happiness comes only by making others happy">>

0 hits are returned.

It appears that the search failure for the phrase happens because the word 'happy' and the word 'the' are separated by a dash.

I haven't tried to determine the behavior for the second word that follows the dash.

Thanks,
Dennis

dmaynes
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General Conference search failure

Postby dmaynes » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:07 am

Alan_Brown wrote:It is not the same search function, and so this post doesn't really fit the Online Scriptures forum. So I moved this thread to the LDS.ORG forum.


In the December 2008 Ensign, there is a reprint of a talk by Neal A. Maxwell from the April 2002 General Conference, "Consecrate Thy Performance."

The specific sentence being sought is:

In meeting these recited challenges, spiritual submissiveness is fortunately and helpfully adroit—sometimes helping us to "let go" of things, even mortal life, other times to "hold fast," and still other times to use the next stepping-stone (see 1 Ne. 8:30).


If you search for the phrase
<<"spiritual submissiveness is fortunately and helpfully">>

four hits are returned: Ensign/Liahona December 2008, Ensign/Liahona May 2002.

If you click "General Conference" and repeat the search, no hits are returned even though the talk was given at General Conference.

I could not reproduce the failure with another talk from October 2008.

Thanks,
Dennis

dmaynes
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Counting error on returned search pages

Postby dmaynes » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:08 am

Alan_Brown wrote:It is not the same search function, and so this post doesn't really fit the Online Scriptures forum. So I moved this thread to the LDS.ORG forum.


The number of returned search results appears to be inconsistently reported.

For example, if you search for <<"babblings"">>
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=84010fd41d93b010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&hideNav=1&bucket=AllChurchContent&query=%22babblings%22&submit=Search

The results page states, "Results 1-11 of 8". There are indeed 11 items listed, the total of 8 does not agree with this.

This error appears to be easily reproduced. If you search for <<backbiting>>
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=84010fd41d93b010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&hideNav=1&pageNumber=5&maxResults=20&NARROW_BY=&query=backbiting&bucket=AllChurchContent&dateFrom=&dateTo=&AUTHOR_CATEGORY=&AUTHOR_NAME=&FORMAT=&dateFromDisplay=&dateToDisplay=&findByAuthor=

At 20 results per page, the last page (#5) states "Results 81-95 of 89". The list is counted up to 95, not 89.

Thanks,
Dennis

dmaynes
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More information about problems with dashes and hyphens

Postby dmaynes » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:59 am

dmaynes wrote:Dashes that are present in the text appear to not be parsed or handled correctly. ... I haven't tried to determine the behavior for the second word that follows the dash.


The dash is usually written as two hyphens. It is a grammatical construct that is used to offset modifying phrases. The search engine appears to process the dash like a word connector (similar to the use of a hyphen) not like a word separator.

Here is a summary of searching involving dashes and hyphens.

  1. Dashes are treated like word connectors and not word separators, just like hyphens. This appears to be a design flaw.
  2. Phrase search cannot be used to find phrases that include dashes.
  3. Phrase search will find phrases that include hyphenated words but the hyphenated or compound form must be specified as written in the text for the search to succeed.
  4. Stemming is active for the second word of a hyphenated word. It is not active for the second word in the dashed construct.
Tests were performed using the following three quotes:

Neil Anderson quote
We limped along the tree-lined country road in second gear. It would be impossible to drive to Bordeaux in this condition, and we looked for possible help. Our first hope was a convenience store just preparing to close. I asked about possible rental-car locations or train stations nearby. We were far from any city of any size, however, and my questions brought little response.

Neil L. Andersen, “Room in the Inn,” Ensign, Dec 2008, 12–15


Shari Pippen quote
After two more years of testing and one outpatient surgery, I had an answer—mitochondrial myopathy, a form of muscular dystrophy. To this day I do not understand what it fully means. I do understand a little about what causes it and what I can do to lessen its accompanying symptoms and complications. While it is not life threatening, there is no cure.

Shari Phippen, “Becoming Spiritually Whole,” Ensign, Dec 2008, 34–36


Thomas S. Monson quote
It has been my privilege, accompanied by my counselors and by other General Authorities, to dedicate three new temples: in Curitiba, Brazil; in Panama City, Panama; and in Twin Falls, Idaho—bringing to 128 the number of temples in operation throughout the world.

Thomas S. Monson, “Welcome to Conference,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 4–6


Search full word without quotes

<<treelined>> returns Anderson quote -- (Expected result)
<<answermitochondrial>> returns Pippen quote -- (Unexpected result)
<<idahobringing>> returns Monson quote -- (Unexpected result)

Search partial word without quotes (stemming in second word)

<<treelin>> returns Anderson quote
Note: <<lin>> does not return "lined" in a general search

<<answermitochondria>> does not return Pippen quote
<<idahobring>> does not return Monson quote
Note: <<bring>> returns "bringing" in a general search

Search full word with asterisk

<<treelin*>> returns Anderson quote -- (Expected result)
<<answermito*>> returns Pippen quote -- (Unexpected result)
<<idahobring*>> returns Monson quote -- (Unexpected result)

Phrase search with hyphen or dash in the middle of the phrase

<<"We limped along the treelined">> does not return Anderson quote -- (Unexpected result)
<<"we limped along the tree-lined">> returns Anderson quote -- (Expected result)

As far as I can tell, there is no way using a phrase search to find content where a dash is present in the phrase.

<<"I had an answer mitochondrial myopathy">> does not return Pippen quote
<<"I had an answer-mitochondrial myopathy">> does not return Pippen quote
<<"I had an answer--mitochondrial myopathy">> does not return Pippen quote

<<"idahobringing">> does not return Monson quote
<<"idaho bringing">> does not return Monson quote
<<"idaho-bringing">> does not return Monson quote
<<"idaho--bringing">> does not return Monson quote

Phrase search with hyphen or dash at the end of the searched phase

<<"We limped along the tree">> does not return Anderson quote -- (Expected result)
<<"I had an answer">> does not return Pippen quote -- (Unexpected result)

Phrase search with hyphen or dash at the beginning of the searched phrase

<<"lined country road in second gear">> does not return Anderson quote -- (Expected result)
<<"mitochondrial myopathy">> does not return Pippen quote -- (Unexpected result)

Unquoted search with hyphen or dash at the beginning of the searched phrase

<<lined country road in second gear>> returns Anderson quote -- (Unexpected result)
<<mitochondrial myopathy>> returns Pippen quote -- (Expected result)

dmaynes
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Location: Pleasant Grove, Utah

Hits from institute and seminary websites not being counted

Postby dmaynes » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:19 pm

dmaynes wrote:The number of returned search results appears to be inconsistently reported.


The counting error appears to be a failure to count hits being returned from http://institute.lds.org and http://seminary.lds.org

The under-counted hits are consistent with this finding for the following searches:

"babblings"
bleating
blemish
bramble
bowels
busybody

There may be a discrepancy with the under-counting when two or more search terms are being used, as in:

pernicious permissiveness
brazen serpent

dmaynes
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Location: Pleasant Grove, Utah

Phrase searches require commas and colons in the right places.

Postby dmaynes » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:38 pm

lajackson wrote:I search for words and never include punctuation. For example, if you search in the Gospel Library for (with the quotes) "would the savior do" you will get 19 or 20 hits, including Elder Wirthlin's talk in both the Ensign and the Liahona.


I verified that the search functioned as you stated. I appreciate your reply.

However, punctuation in phrase searching appears to be important.

When I search for the phrase "Set apart by its mystery, mood and magic" from this paragraph, I must use commas.:
One writer said: “Again Christmas, abiding point of return. Set apart by its mystery, mood and magic, the season seems, in a way to stand outside time. All that is dear, that is lasting, renews its hold on us: we are home again.”

Thomas S. Monson, “The Best Christmas Ever,” Ensign, Dec 2008, 4–8


<<"Set apart by its mystery mood and magic">> fails
<<"Set apart by its mystery, mood and magic">> succeeds

The same holds true for phrase searching ""renews its hold on us: we are home again" from the last sentence. In this case, we must insert the colon in the correct place.

<<"renews its hold on us we are home again">> fails
<<"renews its hold on us: we are home again">> fails

I know that I can perform the search without looking for the phrase. In the first situation, only 6 hits are returned, so it's fairly easy to find the right article. However, in the second situation, 452 hits are returned and it's much harder to find the right article.

Thanks,
Dennis


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