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searching problem

1. lusi8 February 2010, 12:34 GMT +01:00

The search machine cant find two word descriptions - for example, for "gold frame" there is no result when searching, even though there are images that have both keywords

26. lennie7 April 2010, 10:12 GMT +02:00

Dez, ohh, because we are always willing to help. :-)

27. fishmonk1 May 2010, 0:05 GMT +02:00

I was looking for a picture of a bird which I knew was a woodpecker & possibly a green woodpecker. i typed in "green and woodpecker" & was amazed. There were over 3000 images - many black and white. I looked at a few of them & decided they had been found on the "and" part of my search. I then tried "green AND woodpecker" and got no results. This led me to the conclusion that we have no images with both the keyword "green" and "woodpecker". Just searching for "woodpecker" alone came up with Karunakar's 4 images (nice ones too).

Apologies for the essay - I wanted to describe the process of someone who is looking for something but has no idea of the conventions of search engines. (please, I can't be the only one?). I may have given up looking had I not been interested in the process itself.

My point?
1) What ARE the conventions for searching? Is it "AND" & in capitals? can you use NOT or OR? etc etc etc & are there other ways to get better results?
2) How do searchers get to know this stuff? Can we put a pop up with handy tips/hints as mouse hovers over the search box? Do we want to? Or is it just me being particularly dense? Or is it not important at all? Should I just go to bed & forget this this post ever happened...

28. jonfletch1 May 2010, 1:57 GMT +02:00

Sleep tight Dan...

I have no idea about search engine conventions either. In google I often use the advanced search as it is very obvious what words to put where, but I often get stuck searching on websites and either end up with too many results or none!

On SXC, I remember searching through hundreds of pages trying to find the right images. One would think that if there was anyway that the search could be refined AND if this was spelt out to searchers, then it would be a great advantage over other sites.

29. xymonau1 May 2010, 9:41 GMT +02:00

I thought "green woodpecker" would be the way to go. Haven't tried it.

30. jazza1 May 2010, 22:39 GMT +02:00

If you search for "green woodpecker" (without the quotes) the search engine searches like "green OR woodpecker"

If you like to have only green woodpecker photos you have to search on "green AND woodpecker"

If you search on the keywords "green woodpecker" with the quotes like Dez suggested you will search for images having this two words in one keyword. Try for instance "red car" with quotes and look at the keywords

31. fishmonk2 May 2010, 11:28 GMT +02:00

You're right - the quotes are needed.

32. jazza6 May 2010, 23:11 GMT +02:00

It is a bit more complicated.
I give some examples:

When you have a first photo with five keywords like this
"Green , tree, wood, land, leaf"

And you have a second photo with 100 keywords like
"Tree, wood, red, green, rural ... and so on and so on"

When you search for "tree" the first photo would be showed first. Why?

The keyword "tree" matches for 20% (one out of five keywords) in the first photo

In the second photo the match would only be 1% (one out of 100 keywords)

The engine recognize also plural forms. If you search for 'house', it will find 'houses' too

The search engine ranks a photo with more keywords found higher then photos with only one keyword found.

So it could be useful to add the keywords "tree, trees, red tree, autumn tree, old tree" and so on. If it is a photo of an old tree in the autumn of cause.

So you can do some search engine optimization for your keywords.

33. Ayla877 May 2010, 7:04 GMT +02:00

Jay, these explanations are very interesting, but for people with no affection for mathematics it is still not easy to understand which strategy for search engine optimization on keywords would be the most successful.

Your example shows, that the ranking is better, when you have only a few keywords and one (or even two) of them match with the search. To add more keyword combinations, as you suggest ("tree, trees, red tree, autumn tree, old tree" and so on) would increase the number of keywords, but not necessarily the number of matches (depending on what is searched for).

Could it be possible that "tree, red, autumn, old" works better than
"tree, trees, red tree, autumn tree, old tree", because the overall number of keywords is smaller and still everything important is included?

Maybe someone has the time to try this out?
I think we should aim to include some of the resulting tips in the FAQ.


34. lennie7 May 2010, 21:31 GMT +02:00

@Ayla87 Yes, that is how the searchengine works and that would by my thought too, I think it's better to just add the keywords that you intend to add, not the plural. You don't need it, it understands that.

I don't think the idea from Jay is a good one, because you don't need to do that. It also makes it unnecessarily complicated.

35. lusi11 May 2010, 22:58 GMT +02:00

Would it be possible to see the images that match the searched keyword starting with the most recent uploaded to older ones?
The searchengine to me is a mistery, but I see that people know ways to put their images forward. That is important with photos that have a "wide meaning" keyword like landscape, nature and similar. They put that keywords twice and go up on the list when the page is opened.
I would like the search to be as simple as possible. If the searched word is among keywords (no matter how many keywords are there for that photo) it is in the list, ranked by the date of upload (newest first), If you search with 2 (or more keywords), the images that include both words go first, then come the other with one matching word (all the time the most recent ones before the older)
Also, to see the most downloaded images for the searched keyword would be helpful too.

36. xymonau12 May 2010, 0:03 GMT +02:00

lusi, I think random images is best. I was one of the first to upload my images here. Originally, the search engine seemed to work like that, and so my images were always on some page right at the end of everything. With the more random results, I get some of my images seen on the first page sometimes. They still are about the keywords, but the order of upload doesn't disadvantage those who were here first.

37. lusi12 May 2010, 0:24 GMT +02:00

well, I didnt take that in account... you are right. But, if I often need a photo of same theme, for example wood texture or cup of coffee, I take a look and pick some images that might serve me. After some time, I need new wood texture or cup. Id like to see the ones that I didnt last time, i.e. the newest additions... I know that for the moment the upload of images is not so fast and there are not so many photos for a searched keyword (if I take a look every now and then, I will find the new ones among the olds), but what when there will be 1000 or more images of the same theme? Many people do not have the time to search through hundreds of images looking for the ones not seen before... I hope you see my point of view... even though in a near future my photos will be far back too. Therefore, the most downloaded list or most commented list would help the older photos to take the leading places. Quality alwyas finds its way to the top so you sould not be warried at all.
By the way, when I search for photos at other stock sites, I always start with the most downloaded list... if it exists

38. xymonau12 May 2010, 6:11 GMT +02:00

I'm not in the business, so I don't think of things like that. Perhaps the search could be optional, with selections on chronological order or random, downloaded, commented, etc.

39. Ayla8712 May 2010, 7:39 GMT +02:00

I agree with Dez - those additional search options (together with the optional choice to search for images of a specific user only) would make a great selection for a "More search options" or "Advanced search"-feature.


40. lennie12 May 2010, 17:43 GMT +02:00

So what you are actually searching for is a list of the images that were recently added for a certain search criteria. I'll see if I can add it somehow.

Atleast I now understand why people would want it. :-)

41. lusi12 May 2010, 18:20 GMT +02:00

yes! Usually, when you search a keyword, the coresponding page opens with the first image being the newest one. Above that there could be search options: view most downloaded, most commented, by size

42. fishmonk12 May 2010, 23:43 GMT +02:00

I agree @36 - my preference would be random by default with 3 options:
most downloaded,
most commented &

43. crisderaud13 May 2010, 3:50 GMT +02:00

Looking over the most recently searched list, I see very few that come up empty except those that are misspelled or unusual search terms.

I think the search has come along quite nicely and accounts for more people finding what they came here for.

44. lennie13 May 2010, 11:56 GMT +02:00

@42 it's not random. :-) It's order by relevance, but maybe that is just a bit too 'smart'. :-/ Although I've never heared anyone complain about Google having a search which is to smart. But I guess this is a different kind of site/search. It's used differently.

@43 I've been hoping that it accounts for, or atleast part of, the rise in the number of visitors to the site. But things still need to improve for people to be really happy.

45. lusi13 May 2010, 17:03 GMT +02:00

Anothe point that I forgot to mention when asking for the chronological order: the image "series" get lost with the random system. When you find an image that may be what you need, it is very convinient if you have another two or even more similar ones but from different angle or something, so that you can pick the one that suits you the best. With images sorted by date, the images from the same series come one after the another so you dont miss them.

46. lennie13 May 2010, 17:18 GMT +02:00

I think we should allow for some way to do grouping, so after you upload you can define a serie. But to be able to do that, we need to change the photomanagement first to make it easier to do that.

In other news, i got some changes ready for changing search:

1. added a hack for this problem, sometimes the estamates of the number of images found is wrong:
grilled chicken burger(200)
grilled chicken burger(206)

(yes, it will slow it down a little bit... I doubt you'll notice)

2. I have an updated search database ready, which will add:
- searching of titles (with a lower preference than keywords)
- searching of descriptions (with a lower preference than title)
- possibility to do search per gallery/user

This means more images will be found and hopefully it will also improve relevance.

3. I got my changes ready for the code which will go with that newer search database which will allow for:
- more frequent updates of the database
- better performance when doing updates of the database

Currently if you change a keyword on an already published image, it will only show up after somewhere after midnight.

It should be possible to shorten the time for such changes to minutes instead of on average half a day.

4. I also have some code so the backend understands how to order by newest instead of relevance.

Just no code yet to search for it on the webpage.

47. lennie14 May 2010, 20:16 GMT +02:00

Just a little update, the new search database (2 above) is online, I did 1 yesterday.

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