Did you mean “ferry willing”?

I may be the only person interested in making this weblog more searchable – I don’t imagine there are “Narcissus, the Weblog and Modern Canadian Thought” master’s theses being written that demand an easier way to ferret out historical posts.

But if anything this weblog is about my life, and I’ve been doing it long enough – 12 years last month – that I’ve begun to forget what I’ve written before. This means I’ve built a helpful personal research tool, but also that I’m in danger of expressing indignation about things I’ve previous expressed indignation about (reindignating?).

For example, in January of this year I lamented a CADC proposal to extend the Queen Parkade to University Avenue, a plan that, at the time, I thought was completely new to me – I even called it a “secret” plan. It turns out that, three years earlier in 2008, I lamented the same proposal in an earlier “secret” incarnation. All I can offer in my defense is a feeling that my more recent lament was a better one.

That all said, I’m interested in search, and by way of exploring that interest (and enhancing my abilities to plumb the depths of my last decade), I’ve strapped Apache Solr and its companion Drupal module to the side of the weblog. This update transforms the searchability of the weblog considerably, adding “faceted” search (the ability to filter searches by date or topic), “did you mean” suggestions, and much more.

You can try it out here; the results look like this (searching for perry williams):

Apache Solr Search on ruk.ca

I’ve already profited from Solr’s awesome power, learning things about my life that I’d long forgotten – prostitutes in Thailand, the name of that great restaurant in France, the night Oliver had to spend in hospital when he was 18 months old. Should you be casting about for a thesis topic, I’m ready for you now.


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