I’ve just changed this site’s search page to a new version that is hopefully more useful than the previous Google-powered one.

The previous search page consisted of Google search results which were usually OK but had a couple of notable downsides. First, they often included ads, for some search terms in particular. Second, they only allowed searching the contents of entire pages. So if you wanted to search for, say, “Lord Sandwich” within the diary entries, it was tricky; not only did the results list pages from right across the site, they would include pages that featured that word anywhere on the page, whether in diary entries, annotations, or something else.

Screenshot of the search page

The new search doesn’t rely on Google and you must choose whether to search within diary entries, letters, encyclopedia topics, letters, in-depth articles, site news posts, or annotations. The results list individual items, not entire pages. So you can find every individual diary entry, or every individual annotation that features your search term.

You can also order the results by relevancy, title or date, which may be helpful when you’re looking through lots of items.

I expect there are instances in which this search isn’t as useful, or works unexpectedly differently… there are links in the page’s sidebar to search results for this site at Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo.

Please take it for a spin and see what you think, especially those of you who often use the search tool — I’m hoping I’ve made things easier for you, so let me know if there are aspects I’ve made worse!



2 Comments

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I tried it this morning, wanting to post a link to pictures of tokens used at a coaching inn near Bedlam in Bishopsgate (never mentioned by Pepys). What I got was a long list of dates (but no clue to the info for each date), and no link to the Encyclopedia, until I specified that and reran the search -- which was where I ended up (Currency Units and Bishopsgate). In this case the Google integrated system would have been quicker and easier. I know we have discussed tokens at length somewhere ... ???

Phil Gyford  •  Link

If you were searching for "tokens" then the first results were diary entries that included the word "token" - although because it's not an exact match these weren't displayed as highlights underneath each link, something I'd like to improve (although I'm not sure how).

Yes, to search in the Encyclopedia you have to choose to search in the Encyclopedia, rather than the Diary Entries (which is the default choice; something has to be).

You can also click the "Google" link in the sidebar of the search page and you'll get the same results as you used to get here.

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