Friday, January 20th, 2006

New feature: Much better search

All requests eventually come true. Searching has been improved, replacing the old “relevance” search with a more Google-ish search.

The search page now look like:

The main improvements are:

  • Searching for “Greek history” now gives you all the books that have the phrase “greek history,” not some lame weighing of books that have just one or maybe just have a word close to “greek.”
  • Book searches can use syntax like +greek -history
  • You can now search LibraryThing for authors and tags. Instead of dropping you into a catalog with X-thousand books by J. K. Rowling or tagged “science fiction,” these take will take you to the LibraryThing page for J. K. Rowling and science fiction.

Still to be improved:

  • Book searches are still ordered by relevance, which means they can’t be sorted by author, title, etc. I’ll fix this soon.
  • You cannot currently search the entire 1.5 million books for a single book. I’m going to add this, but add it in a way that you get the book-page, not a catalog page loaded 10,000 copies of Harry Potter. The main problem right now is speed; I don’t want to introduce any more speed-hogging features.

Of course, you can search individual user’s libraries. To go their catalog and click the “search” link. But this doesn’t seem enough to me. Perhaps profiles should include a search box, or the search tab should have some way to select a user to search. I’ll tell you that I don’t want a menu with 21,000 people in it! Ideas taken.

Update: LibraryThing is still mostly up, but sometimes slow. I am working on the server issue on a number of levels and hope to show some progress soon. This is one issue I will lick, no matter how large it gets. That said, if you’re David Pogue and writing up an article on LibraryThing for the New York Times, please don’t publish it this week!

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