SEARCH ENGINE TAKES ON DOCUMENTS

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By: Charles Bowen

FindSame.com Does More Than Keyword Searches





To use this tool, enter http://www.findsame.com


Don’t search engines make you crazy?



Some are so wishy-washy that they give you tens of thousands of
possible hits for every search word you enter, most not even
close to the mark. Others are so literal that they never find
anything you’re seeking.



Net search technology that used to seem so enlightened at the
beginning of the Web culture only a decade ago now has devolved
into the digital equivalent of the cranky bureaucrat, appearing
more interested in responses than solutions. It is time for the
next generation of search tools. We need search engines that go
beyond mere keywords and phrases.



FindSame is an interesting new search engine that allows you to
search for documents using large pieces of text rather than
keywords. It treats your search query, in other words, as an
entire document and returns a list of articles and sites that
contain any fragment of that document that is longer than a line
of text. You also can enter the uniform resource locator (URL) of
a document and FindSame will list pages that contain at least a
few sentences that appear on that page.



So, as the site says in an online example, if you ask FindSame to
search with the text of the Gettysburg Address as its guide, you
will find documents containing phrases such as “fourscore and
seven years ago” and “government of the people, by the people,
for the people shall not perish from the earth.” But you will not
have to plow through every document that simply contains the
words “civil war,” “Gettysburg,” and “government.”



What would a reporter or editor use something like this for?
FindSame is ideal for:



o Discovering plagiarism in a report.

o Determining if you have the most recent version of a given
document.

o Tracking how selected press releases or speeches are being
quoted online.

o Finding songs, stories, and poems when you know only a line or
two.





To use this tool, enter http://www.findsame.com,
where the introductory page provides you with two data-entry boxes, one
meant for a URL, the other meant for a section of text. In either
box, you can type or paste text.



Or, if the document you want to use as your search text already
exists elsewhere on your hard disk, consider the “Upload a File”
link on the introductory page. A subsequent screen will prompt
you to enter a file name with its pathway or use the “Browse”
button to navigate to your file. FindSame currently supports
ASCII text as well as documents saved in the formats used by
Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Lotus 1-2-

3, and Lotus Freelance.



The search results page shows your query with hyperlinked
“regions” of text that match parts of other documents. The second
part of the results shows a list of URLs that match part of your
document. You also can click “Side-by-Side” to compare the
matching document to your submission, or click the URL to go
directly to the matching text.



Other considerations in using FindSame for your writing and
editing:



If you’re using Microsoft Word 2000, you can install a
component that adds a FindSame command bar to the software. This
allows direct submission of Word documents or selected sections
of them to the FindSame search engine, with the results presented
in Internet Explorer 5. To do this, click the “Search Directly
from MS Word” button on the FindSame introductory page and follow
the resulting links to the self-installing file.



The site also has browser buttons. These let you search for
pages sharing the text with the page you are browsing. They use
JavaScript and work with both Netscape and

Internet Explorer browsers. To check it out, click the “Add
FindSame Shortcuts” link on the introductory screen.



Still unsure how FindSame works? See the collection of
hyperlinked examples at the bottom of the introductory screen,
illustrating how to use the search engine to find things such as
outdated vaccination recommendations, copies of a particular
Stephen King novel, and jokes attributed to comedian Steven
Wright.







Bowen writes columns, articles and books from West Virginia, and is host of the daily Internet News syndicated radio show (http://www.netnewstoday.com).

charlesbowen@compuserve.com





Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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