Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Automatic search suggestions

A lot of modern search engines in databases and the net have some algorithm that suggests what you might have been looking for, in case you mistyped or mis-remembered something. That can be a very nifty thing, saving re-typing or even long thinking about what exactly your thingummy was called - and it can also get some hilarious results from time to time.

A while ago, I wrote a book review about M. Beaudry's "Findings", and this has been cited in a few places. In one of the discussions which I caught, another book including information about archaeological textile tools was mentioned - this one:

Late Viking age and medieval Waterford : excavations 1986-1992

I don't know that one yet, so I did what I always do in that case. I open the online OPAC of my favourite university library - the one in Bamberg - and paste in exactly the text you see above. And I get the following search spellcheck suggestion:

Meinten Sie Alle Felder = Late biking age and medieval vatermord : excavations 1986-1992

I really dig the "late biking age", and "Vatermord" in German means parricide. Medieval parricide, that's nice! And for the textile inclined, a "Vatermörder" is what they called the detachable collars of the 19th century. Now isn't that a very nice suggestion? I would absolutely read a book with that title!

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