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Tips for searching newint.org

As some readers may have noticed, we've been doing some work on the search facility on the New Internationalist website. Here is an update on how to use it to find that which you seek.

Search changes

The biggest change that we have made is to order the search results by date. This means that newer results will be higher up the search by default. We wanted people to see our latest coverage easily and this seemed the best way to achieve that. I'd be interested to hear if you love or hate getting results in that order, let me know in the comments.

The original relevancy ordered search is still there, but you need to use the link at the top of the page to reorder the results.

Search basics

Normally a search looks for content anywhere on the page. The search will search for pages which contain all the keywords you specify. You can search for a longer phrase by quoting it with "s.

Using fields

You can narrow your search down by using extra fields on your searches. The syntax for fields is fieldname:keyword. So, for example, you could search for everything about India that we published in 2012 by typing India year:2012. Each of the fields below links to an example for you to play with.

  • tags:environment find articles tagged with your keyword
  • title:politics find articles which include your keyword in their title
  • year:2012 find articles published in the year you specify in YYYY format
  • month:201202 find articles from a particular month in YYYYMM format
  • date:20120201 find articles published on a particular day YYYYMMDD
  • category:blog_post find articles of a particular type, which must be blog_post, publication (for books pages), global_contributor (for contributor pages), story (for all other articles).

Combining searches

The searches can be combined if you want to narrow down your search to something quite specific, for example to find all blog posts mentioning India that were tagged climate change and published in 2012, you could search for India category:blog_post tags:"climate change" year:2012.

URL trickery

You can link to searches using the link at the top of the page, or just use http://www.newint.org/search/term, for example to link to Monsanto searches, you would link thus: http://www.newint.org/search/monsanto.

You can specify the page of the search as part of the URL, for example the second page of results about Spain is available at http://www.newint.org/search/spain/2.

If you'd like to syndicate your search, for example in a news aggregator, you can use the RSS link at the side of the page, or add "rss" into the URL. For the RSS feed of "anarchism" you would use http://www.newint.org/search/rss/anarchism/1.

The result ordering is specified as a GET parameter. Which means that if you wanted to link to the results of a search for Occupy in order of relevancy you would use the URL http://www.newint.org/search/occupy?order=relevance.

Other ways to navigate www.newint.org

Search isn't the only way to locate interesting stuff on our website. You can also use the browse tools in the sidebar, our themes directory, our tag listing or New Internationalist Australia's hand edited magazine guide. Our online shop has its own search to help you find the perfect ethical gift.

Technical details

This section is probably only of interest to techies! We use the free/open source Xapian search engine as our backend data repository with the results being processed and presented by perl's Catalyst web framework, using Catalyst::Model::Xapian. We use an in house web spider to populate our database, it is called muffet and is available on github under a GPL licence.