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Author Topic: RPC website search engine - again  (Read 878 times)
helvetica
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« on: September 27, 2019, 04:43:42 pm »

A month or so ago I wrote that I was having problems with the new RPC Online search page.
I have discovered where the problem lies.
If you select ONE emperor's name from the list and ONE city, then you're ok, it will show you what you want.

However, if you can't read a legend and you are not sure whether, for example the head is that of Commodus as Caesar or Commodus as August, the logical thing to do would be to select their option Commodus (Caesar or Augustus). Selecting the city of Hypaepa (Lydia) in this example and clicking search gives zero results.

Right, so now you select them separately in the Person line so they appear as: (x)Commodus (Caesar) (x)Commodus (Augustus)
Select Hypaepa, click search, and you get nothing.

However. if you ONLY select Commodus (Caesar) and Hypaepa, you get results. Same with Commodus (Augustus).

In addition, you can now only select one single city, so for all the towns with similar names (see my pdf work about all the mints with similar or identical names) and you're not sure which one the coin is from, you're stuck. With the old system you could, for example,
  • mark all the towns named Antioch and be sure of finding what you are looking for.

These limitations are annoying and in my opinion a step back from the old method when you could
  • mark the boxes of any number of cities and emperors or semi-autonomous obverses and always get results. The person who has programmed the new search does not seem to have tested it and none of the selection lines appear to implement the Boolean method correctly (the old search engine did).
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orfew
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2019, 05:26:05 pm »

Nice detective work Dane. Thank you.
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Jerome M
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2019, 02:39:25 pm »

I am sorry you are having trouble using the website...

In persons, if you select more than a person, it means you want BOTH on the coin. For example, if you are looking for coins of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (portraits facing for example), or the coins of Nero and Agrippina, then you select both. It implies AND, not OR. It just is the normal way such forms work....

As for the cities, it is easy enough to use a simple search for "Antioch Hadrian Tyche seated" — you can even use the NOT and search for Antioch Hadrian Tyche seated not Syria (for example). Or even using OR and wildcards: Dionys* or Zeus seated Antioch not Syria

Sorry, but there is no plan to put back the old site!

Jerome Mairat

Director of RPC online
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Jerome M
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2019, 03:48:59 pm »

PS: The 'boxes', as you say, work well indeed: 'Additional coin type' return all the types that are not in the printed volumes; 'Corrected coin type' return the types that have been corrected since the printed volumes; 'Additional specimens' return the types that have coins added since the printed volumes.

Against what you claim, the website has been intensively tested (and developed by me btw!), and is used daily by all the authors of the series (it is actually a web application on which we prepare all the future volumes), and nobody ever had any trouble.

Maybe you need to rethink how you use the form?
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helvetica
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2019, 07:24:46 pm »

Thanks for the information, Jerome, but why doesn't the "Commodus (Caesar or Augustus)" option work as one would logically suppose ? And would it not be possible to add dropdown fields simply with the name Commodus, Marcus Aurelius etc. without the "as Caesar" or "as Augustus" additions ?
Another question is, why are some city names such as Kyzikos entered with their Latin name (Cyzicus in this case) when all the legends on coins of Kyzikos are in Greek ? A German friend had to Skype me for help when he was using the quick search for his Commodus coin from Kyzikos, using the search Commodus Kyzikos Tyche and found nothing.
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Jerome M
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2019, 01:00:54 am »

>> why doesn't the "Commodus (Caesar or Augustus)" option work as one would logically suppose ?
Again: the form (like all web forms by default btw!) assume AND, not OR. You cant say "nothing works on RPC online" because you are confused with a single detail like this!

>> And would it not be possible to add dropdown fields simply with the name Commodus, Marcus Aurelius etc. without the "as Caesar" or "as Augustus" additions ?
It is technically possible, but I have no plan to do so.

>> why are some city names such as Kyzikos entered with their Latin name (Cyzicus in this case) when all the legends on coins of Kyzikos are in Greek ?
Maybe you should read the text of an RPC volume I that explains things? But, as a short summary for you, the series takes a Roman perspective on this coinage: it is NOT Greek Imperial Coinage, but ROMAN Provincial Coinage. So Latin forms of the names are used (Dionysus, not Dionysos; Cyzicus, not Kyzikos). You should read it, it worth it!

>> using the search Commodus Kyzikos Tyche and found nothing
Not possible. It works (try again!): https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/search/browse?q=Commodus+Kyzikos+Tyche
Probably he or/and you just did a typo.
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Altamura
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2019, 04:14:36 am »

Some "features" of the new search in RPC online are in my eyes a bit strange too.

I agree with helvetica with respect to this Kyzikos Cyzicus question. There lived people speaking Greek, calling their city ΚΥΖΙΚΟΣ and stamping this on their coins. It is only 19th century tradition (or even older) to take over the imperialistic view of the Roman Empire, there is no urgent need to get stuck on that.  But as long as the names are used homogeneously, I am happy  Smiley.

Why does the OR option only work in the simple search and not in the advanced one? Usually an advanced search is more powerful than a simple one  Wink.
In other systems you have at least the possibility to choose whether the parameters of the search are coupled by AND or by OR. This is a little bit more complicated, perhaps even for the user,  but offers more flexibility.
Generally a little description about how to search would be helpful.

Why is in the advanced search the "Search" button on the left? My experience is that the button to proceed is usually on the right side. The first times I was searching something I killed my search criteria instead of seeing the results  Sad. (Obviously someone has been aware of this situation and made the "Clear all" button red  Wink, but didn't change it  Sad.)

Not to be misunderstood: RPC online is a very useful tool, but could be made even a bit better  Smiley.

(It is always the same. Users don't think exactly as you do and have expectations you didn't have on the list  Smiley)

Regards

Altamura
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Jerome M
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2019, 04:37:18 am »

> I agree with helvetica with respect to this Kyzikos Cyzicus question
For Cyzicus, vs Kyzikos, it is, as explained above (please read), a convention of the RPC project (Roman perspective, not Greek). I am sorry you don't like these conventions, but this is very much the idea of RPC which is a very successful project. But Kyzikos even works actually... so I just dont see your problem.

> Why does the OR option only work in the simple search and not in the advanced one?
because this would make the form too complicated because of the implied AND and the additional OR. Just send me the link of such a form which is still easy to use. I am very curious to see it! Please do – easy to imagine something but show me an actual example!

> Why is in the advanced search the "Search" button on the left?
Indeed a terrible choice! A very serious issue indeed...
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2019, 05:27:17 am »

Generally it's now better then the old one, for me looking @ Hadrian of course.
only one can not save a search path
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Jerome M
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2019, 05:38:08 am »

yes you can. You save (or bookmark) the result of the search. E.g. https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/search/browse?q=kyzikos
Like with the old website...
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Altamura
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2019, 06:28:24 am »

... but this is very much the idea of RPC which is a very successful project. But Kyzikos even works actually... so I just dont see your problem. ...
I didn't say that this is a problem, it's just a matter of taste, I'm just wondering.

... Just send me the link of such a form which is still easy to use. ...
The site of the Heberden Coin Room at Oxford has the choice between AND and OR: http://hcr.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coin/  (click on "Advanced search").
(The problem here is that they have nearly no coins to offer, but that's a different thing  Sad.)
The question is whether this is "easy to use". But if you have a simple search, then the advanced one doesn't have to be simple too, for that you have the simple one.

Not to speak about ISEGRIM (http://isegrim.dasr.de) or the search of Asia Minor Coins (https://www.asiaminorcoins.com/gallery/search.php) where you even can use regular expressions (what I never did).

And what's about the idea of a little online instruction about "how to search"?.

Regards

Altamura
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Jerome M
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2019, 06:52:15 am »

It’s so amusing you use the HCR website as an example... thank you for that. because guess who did it? Me... so well, I know quite well what kind of problems it involves for the users Smiley

I very doubt  isegrim is a good example to follow when it comes to simplicity of use!

 As for your other example you mention (asiaminor), they are equivalent to the OR/AND/NOT etc of the simple search of RPC online: it is also basically a search box, nothing comparable with advanced search and its many fields and controls.

Just one example to illustrate why a OR is not practical on the advanced search: if you want the coins of Nero and Angrippa, vs searching for the coins of Nero or Agrippina. In both cases you select Nero and Agrippina as the persons. But then you need an option so the user chooses OR or AND, which will certainly (and it actually did on a test version) disconcert 95% of the users. So I decided it was not a good idea. A ‘powerful user’ will be more free using the expressions in the simple search: Hadrian not radiate Cilicia not tarsus seated αυτ* Μητρ*
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2019, 07:11:23 am »

I don't know how difficult this would be, but it would be nice if in "Advanced Search" at least the OR of the simple search could be used in the two "Design" fields of the Advanced Search.

That would fulfill an obviously existing wish.

So it would be possible to use all the nice selection possibilities (which I like) + the e.g. "Aurelius OR Commodus" for the obverse design if you can't decide.

The "Design fields" are anyway made for free input.

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Jerome M
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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2019, 07:39:30 am »

This is possible, yes. But I am a bit hesitant because it would mean the form implies AND, except for the design fields (and then inscription fields too, logically) where OR is also possible. But I will keep it in mind.

That being said, I less and less use the advanced search when I work on rpc (and I hope you noticed that they are quite a few things out now, and much more to come). I much prefer the ‘simple search’ because it is easier, faster and more powerful. Just like google: a box, you type, and done! Who would use google if it was a long advanced search form with plenty of fields?
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shanxi
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2019, 07:51:16 am »

True, but the advanced search if often very helpful, e.g. the magistrate selection, if you are not sure how to write a less common name, or e.g.  if you want to see all city names starting with a certain letter.
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Jerome M
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2019, 08:12:18 am »

Yes, that’s exactly why the simple search is actually quite powerful. To be able to do such things.
Names of magistrates are a bit of a mess for now. There is a plan to follow the same onomastic rules across all volumes but it will take some time to update everything.
For the time being, you might find this useful https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/magistrate
Or to type the Greek letters in the inscription field if you can only see part of it? (Which is often the case, as you know!)
PS: as for all the cities starting with a certain letter, this might help: https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/city
And you can find even more 'resources' here: https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/resources
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2019, 10:02:00 am »

The countermark list is really helpful   Thumbs Up
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2019, 11:18:28 am »

yes you can. You save (or bookmark) the result of the search. E.g. https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/search/browse?q=kyzikos
Like with the old website...

Dear Jerome,

Thank you, i only used Advanced search forgot search button and bookmark result  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2019, 11:20:34 am »

The countermark list is really helpful   Thumbs Up

Good idea  Thumbs Up
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Jerome M
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2019, 02:01:50 pm »

Glad it now works for you, Eric. And that you find the resources useful!
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helvetica
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« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2019, 02:51:00 pm »

Jerome - there used to be a box with which one could submit new varieties of coins, i.e. new reverse types, not just additional examples.
What is the method to do that now ? I just sent Volker three links of unlisted types listed in an auction which will be ending in a couple of weeks but I have seen a lot of such types lately which are either not in the printed RPCs or supplements, and/or not in the lists in the RPC database.
I will grab as many as I can for wildwinds, because it would be a shame for them to be sold, removed from the internet and disappear.
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Jerome M
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« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2019, 11:51:05 pm »

https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/feedback/create

Thanks
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helvetica
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« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2019, 08:17:40 am »

Super, merci !
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Altamura
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« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2019, 01:09:49 am »

… It’s so amusing you use the HCR website as an example... thank you for that. because guess who did it? Me... so well, I know quite well what kind of problems it involves for the users Smiley ...

I'm pleased that I was able to amuse you  Smiley. But it shows that you in principle have a solution to the problem.

But again: With such a system you have users who are a bit familiar with formal logical thinking and users who are not. For the latter you can offer a simple search which is quite intuitively understandable and for the others something which is more powerful, but more complicated and perhaps needs a bit more skills to use. That's at least my view on "simple search" and "advanced search".
My impression is, that you want to make happy everyone by making everything simple, and by this these two approaches are becoming blurred. And as a user I now don't know what I can get where and how Undecided.

Perhaps you should really write some sort of FAQ about "how to use the searches" (or convince your client that he pays you for that  Wink).
(This is something amusing me, that you are persistently disregarding my suggestion about that  Smiley.)

Regards

Altamura
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Jerome M
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« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2019, 02:50:58 am »

>>convince your client that he pays you for that 
Which client are you talking about? The web application was developed by me during my free time (weekends and holidays). It costed nothing, except for my free time. Please be a bit careful before spreading such things...

>>something amusing me, that you are persistently disregarding my suggestion about that 
I welcome your suggestion, but – believe it or not – at the end of the day, that’s my decision...

It is always easier to criticize than to create, isn’t it?
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