OED Advanced search

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Thu Dec 23 23:36:11 UTC 2010

On Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 09:58:01PM -0500, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> Jesse, I think these questions are important enough that I am copying
> the list with your reply to me.
> At 12/15/2010 11:08 AM, Jesse Sheidlower wrote [off-list]:
> >On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 05:20:28PM -0500, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> >> Jesse,
> >>
> >> I don't seem to be able to get the behavior I want out of Advanced
> >> Search.  (Using Internet Explorer even.)
> >>
> >> I searched for "shoot" in Quotation Text And "cat' in quotation
> >> Text, Near Five Words, Ordered.  I get 84 results; none of the first
> >> 20 have that pair of words.
> >
> >The "Near Five Words" dropdown list only applies to a "Near"
> >or "Not Near" search, not to an "And" search (which is why
> >that dropdown says "Options for NEAR/NOT NEAR"). You're doing
> >an AND search and choosing an option that doesn't apply to it,
> >so it's ignored.
> So that means I cannot do a search with the new interface for "shoot"
> within five words before "cat*"?  (I want to find, say, "shoot a cat"
> and "shoot the cat" and "shoot cats".  I could previously.

You can do the search within five words, but you can't specify
before or after.

My point about was that you were not doing what you needed to
do to do a "near" search. If you want to do a search within
five words, you have to select "Near" instead of "And". Only
then will the "One word"/"Five words"/etc. be functional.

> >You should get two results (for CAT n.(1) and
> >SHOOT v.) if you do the search correctly.
> If I search for "shoot" in -Quotation Text And "cat" in -Quotation
> Text I get 84 results.  Sorted by Entry:
> 1.  at, prep. ... 663 S. Butler Hudibras i.i.27 To shoot at Foes; and
> sometimes Pul...  775
>      Where is the "cat" in this?  How do I get to this quotation
> easily?  Why am I given just the last three digits of the date, which
> I guess is 1663?

There's a row of tabs underneath the "Advanced search" banner,
reading "Search in: Entries/Senses/Quotations".

What you've done is search for examples of _shoot_ in the
quotation text of an _entire entry_, together with examples of
_cat_ in the quotation text of that _entire entry_.

The example of _cat_ in the "at, prep" entry is the c1220
quote in sense 15. You can't "easily" get to that quotation,
because you were doing an entry-based search, so you'll be
taken to the start of the entry--you'd have to do a "find" in
your browser to get to the result. You're not specifically
given the last three digits of the date, you're given a
certain amount of text surrounding the word, which happens to
cut off in the middle of the date.

>      And apparently there is no way to select text from an Advanced
> search  result ... although that would be useless given what is returned.
>      If a quotation was an identifiable unit in the database that
> could be displayed (although truncated), with *its* date and the
> ability to select it in the old interface, how come that's absent from the new?

It's not. If you want to do this, you would select the
"Quotations" tab in the Advanced search, and then if you
search for "shoot" and "cat" you'll get four results from
three entries, and clicking on the text of the quotation will
bring you directly to that quotation in the entry.

> 6.  cast, v. ...e Story of Whittington and his Cat. 1854 H. Miller
> Schools & Sch...  c1200
>      Here I get the date, author, and (part of) the title of some other work.
> >> The dates in faint blue displayed to the right of the entry term
> >> have no relationship to the quotation.  Are they instead the
> >> earliest date of the entry word?  See next.
> >
> >Yes. The results you get back from a search in OED Online are
> >the entries, not the individual quotations or definitions.
> Is there *no* way to get individual quotations (or definitions) in
> the OED Online?  That to me is several steps backward.  The OED
> Online has given researchers a terrible burden in tracking quotations.

See above.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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