Early Modern Commons has now been aggregating blog posts for several months. I recently added pages for book reviews and job adverts. Today I’ve gone a step further and added a search page for blog post categories.
This will search the categories, tags, labels, etc,* assigned to blog posts by their authors (for posts since the beginning of August 2012). So, for example, you can search for categories mentioning London, or the category Gunpowder Plot.
This is very much a work in progress. The most obvious limitation is that you can only search for posts in blogs that are included in Early Modern Commons. (I’ve been pondering for a while more generally how it might be possible to include relevant posts from blogs that only occasionally have early modern content…)
Alos, at the moment it’s a very simple word/phrase search; the only choices are between searching anywhere within categories and searching for an exact category. I’ll be adding some more sophisticated options later (it would obviously be useful to be able to find, say, ’17th century’ or ‘seventeenth century’ in the same search!).
I hope this addition to the site will be useful! Firstly, it will allow site users more flexible access to the content EMC has been aggregating.
Secondly, moreover, I hope to facilitate the pro-active use of tags and categories by bloggers to create useful resources by grouping together blogging about specific news, topics, conferences, etc, in a similar fashion to Twitter hashtags. All searches can be bookmarked for reference (and I hope to provide RSS feeds before too long); see the notes below on search URL construction.
Bloggers simply need to use a shared tag/category to make it accessible through this search – they could agree on one together for an event, or an organiser could announce one in advance.
So, for example, if a number of EMC bloggers individually blog about early modern panels at the upcoming American Historical Association 2013 meeting and tag/categorise their posts with AHA2013, their posts would all be accessible shortly afterwards through http://commons.earlymodernweb.org/searchcat?s=aha2013
Feedback will be very welcome.
Notes on Search URLs
With URL encoding as appropriate for spaces etc, it should be possible to work out in advance what the URL to search for any given category will be. This is the basic formula:
For example, the simple London URL looks like this:
http://commons.earlymodernweb.org/searchcat?s=london (The searches are all case-insensitive.)
Meanwhie, the Gunpowder Plot search URL looks like this:
In this more complex search URL %20 is the URL encoding for a space between words and &exact=on adds the exact category requirement. (When more search options are added in the future they will similarly be preceded by &.)
I will do my best to ensure that the basic URL construction (searchcat?s=…) is stable and persistent as long as the site is around.
*The terminology varies with different blog platforms (and some, like WordPress, use more than one type), but this shouldn’t matter. Certainly, WordPress tags and categories, Blogspot labels, and Tumblr tags are all being captured and saved in the database. Movable Type/Typepad categories should also be fine though I haven’t checked this yet. NB that the search does not include the content of posts.