The Early Modern Commons

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Notes on Post Tags Search

This is a search for tags/categories assigned to blog posts by their authors. The terminology used for post tags varies across different blog platforms, but WordPress tags and categories, Blogspot labels, and Tumblr tags are all included.

This search feature has a number of purposes:

1. to give site users improved access to the content EMC has been aggregating since August 2012, so they can look for bloggers posting on topics they're interested in, explore what's happening in the early modern blogosphere, and so on.

2. to facilitate and encourage the proactive use of post categories/tags by groups of bloggers with shared interests. All searches can be bookmarked for reference, making it possible to create useful resources of blogging about specific news, topics, conferences, etc, in a similar fashion to Twitter hashtags. Bloggers could agree on a shared tag/category for posts, or an event organiser could announce one in advance, as is often done with Twitter hashtags.

Constructing Search Query URLs

If you'd like to use an event hashtag, it's possible to work out in advance what the URL will be, without needing to visit EMC and run the search manually (though you might be advised to check it works!). But you'll need to use URL encoding as appropriate for any spaces or punctuation in the tag (so it might be a good idea to avoid them).

This is the basic structure:

http://commons.earlymodernweb.org/searchcat?s={search term or phrase}

For example, the URL for a simple search for categories containing London:

http://commons.earlymodernweb.org/searchcat?s=london

The URL for a search for the exact category Gunpowder Plot:

http://commons.earlymodernweb.org/searchcat?s=Gunpowder%20Plot&exact=on

In this more complex URL, %20 is the URL encoding for a space between words and &exact=on adds the exact category requirement.

I'll do my best to ensure that the basic URL construction (searchcat?s=...) is stable and persistent as long as the site is around.

Caveats and Work in Progress

This does not search post content, and it will not find any informal keywords/hashtags within the body of posts.

If EMC doesn't find any <category> tags for a post in the RSS feed it is classified as uncategorized. These and any <category> 'uncategorized' from the feed are omitted from search results. (It should always be borne in mind that some bloggers never use any kind of category or tag at all.)

This will not be a 'real time' search, although EMC updates content every few hours so it's never very far behind events.

The search is at present quite basic and limited. I plan to add a number of more sophisticated features in the future including the ability to filter by blog tags and by dates. I may also introduce RSS feeds for search queries at some point.