February 16, 2005

A brief and geeky gripe

I love Bartleby, but god almighty does their search function suck. Say I want to search their dictionary for the word "widow". One might expect that "widow", being an exact match of my search string, would be the first entry to come up. Oh no. It's not even on the first page. It's way down at hit #16. And it's not like the hits are delivered in alphabetical order or something, which would itself be kind of lame, but would at least explain what was going on.

Posted by Francis at 01:29 PM | TrackBack

I think this is because they are using a full-text search on their dictionary. Since the list is sorted by what is called "relevance" the other entries which contain the word "widow" more often come before the actual entry for "widow", which doesn't need to refer to the word but once, when defining the verb.

Posted by: Marc at February 16, 2005 03:13 PM

Yes but you'd think that someone would twig to the fact that relevance in a dictionary means something entirely different from relevance on the Intarwebs. Main entries should really be weighted much more than definition words. And I'm going to put the Obvious Stick down now.

Posted by: David. at February 16, 2005 03:43 PM
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