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Search Me

Search Me — In response to last week’s FAQtoid explaining how a search engine would work on an individual site, several readers pointed out that a little ingenuity enables you to co-opt a Web search engine to focus in on your Web site. Most Web search engine query forms create long URLs with search settings and parameters encoded in them. For instance, a slight modification of our demonstration query of "adam NEAR engst AND NOT netbits" looks like this in AltaVista-ese:

<http://altavista.digital.com/cgi-bin/query? pg=aq&c9usej=on& what=web& amp;kl=XX&q=adam+near+engst+and+not+ netbits& r=&d0=21%2FMar%2F86& amp;d1=&search.x=45&search.y=15>

If you insert "+and+host:www.tidbits.com" after "and+not+netbits" in that URL, the search will be limited to just the TidBITS Web site. This isn’t entirely effective, since search engines don’t necessarily update their indexes to Web sites on a regular basis. Also, if you want to create a search form that leverages a Web search engine (instead of hard-coding a query in a URL), you may have to write a CGI or do some scripting to convert your user’s search terms into the search engine’s particular format and restrict it to your site. But it’s still free. [GF]


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