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Searching the Archives

Thu, 11/15/2012 - 23:45 -- Richard Damon

The Arlignton List has two sets of archives available to its subscribers, and access to these will require you to log in with your list email address and password. If you do not remember your password see Getting your Password

The first is built by the list software (available at This set of archives first groups all the messages by the month they were posted, and in each month, provides a listing of the messages sorted in several manners (Author, Date, Subject, Thread).

The second is built by custom code (available at This archive is searchable over author, date, and content.

Use of that search form is described here:

The form provides fields to specify what to search for. These are "Search", "Author", "Start", and "End"

Search defines what words or phrases are to be found in the desired messages, it will search for the words in either the subject of the message or the body. The field uses a special syntax to define what words to look for. By default, the form will look for messages containing any combination of the words in any order, ranking pages with more matches higher than those with less. You can modify this a follows:

Words preceded by a + symbol MUST occur in the message
Words preceded by a - symbol MUST NOT occur in the message
Matches any word that begins with word
"word1 word2 word3"
Match the word sequence in order. Punctuation does not need to be matched
Increase weight of word so matches with this word count more than other words
Decrease weight of word so matches with this word count less than other words
Word has negative weight, messages with this word count less than message without it

Words of 3 or less characters are not processed, as well as some longer very common words.

If search is empty, there will be no match score.

Author defines a string that needs to be present as part of the from field of the message.

Start and End specify the starting and ending dates to search for messages. Only message that were sent on or after the start date and before the end date are selected. Generally it is intended that the user provide a full date, but the routine parsing is actually fairly versatile (start dates like today, yesterday, or this week will be processed). The one thing I have heard that it doesn't accept is just a year.