Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog Indices

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allA huge library wall of books
It appears from recent conversations about blog indices and related discussions [ 1 ], [ 2 ], [ 3 ], [ 4 ], [ 5 ] that the most use an index on a blog can provide is to assist the bloggers to find stuff on their own blogs. How extraordinary!

As a blogger who has a very new blog-index, I must admit that I’ve found it extremely useful for finding stuff I've posted on my own blog. Before I built it, I would waste time looking for a post I’d written but couldn’t find – and my blog is nowhere near a year old even yet. Other bloggers have admitted that trying to find stuff on their own blogs can be frustrating.

Time spent searching:

I’ve been giving thought to this lately (I tend to think now and again). How often have I spent time searching in vain through another’s blog or on my RSS Reader, looking for a post I knew they’d written and I couldn’t find? I’ve even tried a Google search or a specific blog search, on these occasions, hoping to hit on the post that I knew existed.

Sometimes I’ve been lucky and I found the elusive post, but it takes a lot of time to do this when there is no index.

People don't use posts that way:

Sue Waters said that people don’t read blog posts that way - that an index wouldn’t be useful to them - that the blogger is only as good as the last post they wrote. While I can see some sense in the last bit, I surely can’t be the only blog visitor who’d find an index useful. I can’t be the only reader who goes off searching for things on other blogs that I’ve read before and know is there and didn’t bookmark specifically for reference later on.

I commented on Tony Karrer’s post that I wouldn’t defend the index I’d built on my own blog as it was experimental and I really didn’t know what the best form was for a blog index anyway. I stick with this, for I have my own reservations about its usefulness.

But I can’t believe that other readers have never experienced the frustration that I have when looking for a post I know a blogger wrote and that I can’t find easily on their blog. What is sometimes even more frustrating is when I’ve to search for the post on several blogs belonging to the same author. Come to think of it, it must make finding their own stuff on their multiple blogs just as difficult. How do they do it?

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Anonymous said...

Still stand by my words :)

PS it is called Google Reader. I don't need to visit your blog to find specific posts because Google Reader does my searching for me faster than any other option.

Tony Karrer said...

I've had the same experience trying to find posts that I know I've seen before. Part of the reason I use my Better Memory approach.

Sometimes even then it doesn't work. I need to capture a few of those examples to see what's going on.

If you can as well, then we can look at how it could be done better.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā kōrua Tony and Sue

Tony, I guess Sue knows something about Google Reader that perhaps we don't. Maybe we should ask her to write a post on how she finds things on blogs so easily with her Google Reader.

I use mine for searches but, like you, it doesn't always work when I go looking for a specific post.

Sue, would you do one of your fabulous informatives for us?

And yes Tony, I will make careful notes of what happens the times I have difficulties looking for a post I've read before.

Catchya later

Anonymous said...

Well I have a large number of blog feeds in my Google Reader including an incredible number of posts being coming in via their Shared feature.

Meanwhile I also separate these feeds into folders to make their management easy. I really remove any feed from my reader as you never know when one might be useful.

So say I'm writing a post on Flickr. All I do is type the key words in the search box and press search. If I remember a blogger wrote an article on it - I may then reduce my search to specific folders or even specific blogs. All within Google Reader. Considerably faster than doing a standard Google Search or searching Delicious.

Ken Stewart said...

Ken, I have been experimenting with Lijit search. I'm not sure if the Blogger platform supports this, but it offers a very strong search engine based on relevance. I hate trying to keep up with my various pages, and this quickly helps.

outside of this, Sue has some valid points. I'm not keen on using GReader to help me find what I need, personally, but it is a very effective way.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā kōrua

Thanks Sue- I tried a few searches in GReader the way you described - I'd never used it before. It is good as you say. Now I have to refine my search criteria writing technique. I notice that it takes Boolean search characters too. Good one!

Kia ora Ken- I've read about Lijit but never tried it - something I should check out. Thanks for the tip.

Catchya later