Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Do you see that "Search Blog" function on the upper left corner of this website? The one on the Blogger toolbar? Well, I was using it a few minutes ago to try and track down a couple of old posts that I had written. The search results page gave me one of the articles I was looking for, sure enough, but it didn't give me anything older than that.

Because I wanted to investigate the issue further, I tracked down the older piece and checked to see if it would show up under a more refined search. It did, and I concluded that the problem was with the system's capabilities. Apparently Blogger returns only the first twenty results when you do a search in this way.

Now, I'm not complaining about this. A twenty-item limit makes perfect sense, of course, because you don't want your system to be overloaded with too many results. You don't want to enter the word "the", for example, only to be deluged with almost every single post you've ever written. That would defeat the purpose of your original search, and it would make the server cry.

The catch, however, is that I've got over five hundred posts on this blog. I can refine my searches right now, sure enough... but will this still be workable after a couple of years? If I continue writing at this rate, I'll have about a thousand posts in the bank after three more years or so. Considering my verbosity and my penchant for revisiting certain topics, this might mean trouble for me before the decade is out.

The first thing that came to mind, then, was the possibility of establishing a shortlist of articles. I mean, I currently maintain a set of running posts on the right-hand sidebar: These represent certain common themes or series of posts that I wanted to highlight for visitors. If I can do this for subsets of articles, why can't I do this for prominent posts?

By "prominent posts", of course, I refer to the most readable items that I've penned here. These range from arguments on literary issues to various analyses and denunciations. Think of it as a little anthology of sorts -- with over five hundred posts in the archives, I'd like to have a handy guide to the pieces I'd like to reference. Moreover, if a visitor is interested in browsing these, then the feature gets a little added value.

There is a downside to this idea, though, and that's the fact that I'll need to do quite a bit of browsing. The "Archives" section on the sidebar is already intimidatingly long, and I have no desire to click on each and every monthly link there. My plan, therefore, is to start off with the ones that immediately come to mind, and then keep adding links as I remember them.

You're welcome to give me a hand, of course. Those articles that I think are memorable and those articles that you think are memorable may very well be completely different. If you feel that something I've previously written should probably go on this shortlist, then do let me know. Otherwise, well, I'll be putting it together myself, in any case.

In the end, if this exercise does make this blog a little readable for everyone who passes by, then that'll be the gravy on top of my mashed potatoes. At the very least, I won't have to refine my searches as often...


Charles said...

It's probably your blog layout.

My search function enabled me also showed the latest 20 results but at the bottom there was a button that gave me the option to go back 20 previous posts.

You can also start using tags to better sort through your entries (although retro-editing it will be a chore).

Oh, and I'm assuming you got nominated for the Philippine Blog Awards or something, which is why you were tracking your older posts.

Sean said...

Charles: I suspected a layout issue as well, although I think that the shortlist idea is still viable. And as much as I'm okay with tags, I'm not very enthusiastic about editing five hundred individual posts just to include them.

And no, I'm not aware of any nomination for the Blog Awards. (Are they on yet, or something like that?) I'm just this fussy in real life. :)