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Author Topic: Finding resources from (or mirrored on) the Coffee Shop  (Read 703 times)
grahame
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« on: February 06, 2021, 01:46:31 pm »

As I research and post, I often include links to other web resources, encouraging members to read those other places that provide far more information than we can, for the greater good of all.

Sadly, "inheritance planning" is not always high up the agenda in some of these other places, and there is an inevitable (?) growing number of broken links floating around; for some, new locations can be found, for others there can be a loss of really useful information.

I came across, and have quoted, a couple of fascinating old blog articles - from 3 and 8 years ago - this morning, and added links to them. Nothing to suggest they will be going away anytime soon, but I would hate to loose them, so I have grabbed .pdf (printable copies) just in case for future use.  To help me manage these things, they're going into a mirror directory at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/ which I am giving restricted (logged in member) only access to. That way, the page/report is "guaranteed" to be available as long as the Coffee Shop is, but it won't be indexed by search engines, nor published and generally available here; it will respect the copyright ...

I have quite a number of "just in case" documents stacked in various places ... and I will start adding "local mirror" links for members to future and updated pages.   If you're logged in, the documents should load straight away if you click on those links; if you're not logged in, you should get a "Forbidden" message reminding you to log in, or encouraging you to register. 
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 12:01:14 pm »

1. I have posted elsewhere about our mirror of historic documents for members - accessible here.  There are already nearly 600 documents there and I have so far indexed about a half of them.  Some 30 documents (that's 1 in 20) are "whitelisted" - in other words available to guests too.

2. We have nearly 270,000 public posts on this forum containing a further wealth of information

3. From early days through to 2018, I wrote a couple of blogs totalling some 4,000 article of which perhaps 1 in 10 related to public transport / might be of later interest.

How can guests and members find what they're looking for in all these varied resources?  I have been updating the forum's simple search to include searching the archive to help ... and test code is currently running from the search box highlighted here on the forum:



Results - at the moment - are giving mirror results first, then post results.  Amongst the mirror pages are topic based post series from the blogs.  Expect further tuning in the next update - here's an example at the moment:



I am very much aware that these old documents are in the equivalent of a dusty back room that is rarely visited - important when referenced, but that's not very often.   So I'm going to encourage members to try it out / test it for me, and report any problems they have. . I would also ask people to let me know of any documents they feel we should be mirroring but aren't in there [yet].
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2021, 12:03:51 pm »

On keeping old documents available for reference

There are 3313 links to ".pdf" files on the Coffee Shop (2363 different ones), some dating back over a decade. Older links - in particular offsite ones - die over time, and for historic reasons we are starting to archive them on our server - via http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror ... follow that link, and you'll find that so far we have 1647 documents with (so far) 326 indexed and listed on that page. 

To help navigate, I have applied some 'classification' - using the word "level".
22 documents at level 9 - current key documents
80 documents at level 7 - important documents
103 documents at level 5 - regular documents
126 documents at level 3 - now really there for the historic record
All of the above can be viewed by members via links on the left of the mirror index page. 28 of them are alo accessible to all site visitors (none-members can see that we hold the other documents, but need to register and login to access content)

326 out of 1647 doesn't sound like a high proportion, but I have started with all the larger ones, so that in practice much or even most is already available in the lists.  I would expect to increase the 326 over coming weeks and months and to be adding other documents too.

As well as the archives of ".pdf" files that members have referred to, I have added some new (old) documents - you will find key Beeching, Serpell and privatisation documents in the "key" and "important" documents, and my historic rail and transport blogs in the regular documents.

Old "Save the Train" forum posts and blog articles will be added in due course.  They are already available or Archive here (forum) and here (blog). There are so many separate articles there (on each of them) that they would drown out the other content; I will add them in due course, but need to do some work to combine them into logical 'stories'.



And on searching old documents and elsewhere

One of the beauties of having all the documents in one place is that we can move towards a system under which you (the user) can look for something and find it whether it was in a referenced document on any one of 101 sites, on one of the blogs we have mirrored, or in a post on the forum.

At present, there are two routes to searching.

1. The search box an the base of the header block on forum pages will search the 326 indexed documents (subject line and text content) and all public posts on the forum.  You can also go direct to it at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/search.html . For historic reasons (to be changed!) it defaults to searching for "Rosslare" if you don't give a search string - scroll down and below the results you can change that!

2. The Document mirror page will offer you the 326 indexed documents too (default). If you click to report on "all" and enter a search string, it looks in 1430 of the .pdf files we hold, including those which are not yet titled and indexed.

A number of document are old ones which were scanned, and others include pictures with text on them. We have not done any Optical Character Recognition on them, so these documents will not turn up in search results based on text within them - just on subject.  For example, if you're looking for the Beeching report, you'll find it if you look for "Beeching" but not if you look for "Pocklington" even though it appears on page 99 of the report.

There are also documents which were in files named ".pdf" but were actually not Portable Document Files (servers can tell the browser the file type!) or for which our automated mirroring routine was redirected to a resource of a different type.  These remain on our server, but not indexed or searched.



Day to day, few members will be doing detailed searches but the resources remain and are important for the future and history. So - please - if you try and use the resource and find it doesn't work for you, let me know.  I can probably fix / sort out / help develop and you may well be the only one to be reporting. It'll actually be quite nice to have a few people try out / visit this area
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2021, 08:28:13 am »

Major search facility update ...

We have a lot of resources on this forum.  Station data. Mirrors of 1500 documents. 20,000 threads with some 300,000 posts in them.  How can you find things?   The old forum search was just that - a forum search only.  But I have now updated the search box shown here:



to search (by default) recent threads, indexed documents, and the station database.  Either enter what you want to find, or just press the "search" button and you'll get a full menu and instructions.



And here's an example of a result set.

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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2021, 08:01:21 am »

Yet further updates ... search system via the indicated box in previous posts and via http://www.passenger.chat/search.html are now starting to do (over)clever things like ask "did you mean".

Most mirrored documents are only available to registered members - however, I have whitelisted around 50 (out of 1500) and they are available to anyone.  See http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/whitelist.html for links to them all.
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2021, 10:32:06 pm »

I've only just twigged that the last revision of the "new" search has meant we no longer have the old forum search facility as an option. That did have its uses, in that it had features yours doesn't (like limiting search to one user) and had a different set of - um - difficulties.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2021, 07:06:23 am »

I've only just twigged that the last revision of the "new" search has meant we no longer have the old forum search facility as an option. That did have its uses, in that it had features yours doesn't (like limiting search to one user) and had a different set of - um - difficulties.

It is still available in the menu directly below the line with the new search box ...
HOME | HELP | SEARCH | ... etc

Not a priority, but I may look at adding further facilities (filter threads by user, filter threads by board) to the new search. Please follow up here with other things that could be useful to cross over - no promise, but if I ask ("consult") at least I'm informed of the direction to go when I get a chance.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2021, 09:39:16 pm »

Not a priority, but I may look at adding further facilities (filter threads by user, filter threads by board) to the new search. Please follow up here with other things that could be useful to cross over - no promise, but if I ask ("consult") at least I'm informed of the direction to go when I get a chance.

Been notified of a bug in the new search (thanks to the member who let me know) and as a result have taken some of the code out for checking and correction in the morning.  Overnight, some matches may be missed if you search.
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Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
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