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The "Proz Term Search" feature is broken.
Thread poster: Stuart Allsop
Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 21:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 8, 2006

For a while I have been suspecting that the "Proz term search" tool is not finding all the references in the Kudoz questions archive, but today I have found two concrete cases that prove it is not working correctly.

1) I searched for the term "derecho real" in the Spanish to English pair, using "Match exact phrase" and ticking all of the "Resources" boxes. It found only one single hit, in "Personal glossary results". I click on the link and found the entry in the personal glossary. Lo and behold, there is a link in that personal glossary reading "Click to see related KudoZ question"! So there really WAS a Kudoz question in the archive about this term, yet it did NOT appear in the results of the "Kudoz archive results". Hence, the tool is broken, as it does not turn up all of the references to the search term.

To make matters even more interesting, when I turn on "Also search reverse language pair (target into source)", I now get a total of 20 hits, all of them under "Personal glossary results", and still zero results under "Kudoz archive results", yet several of those glossary entries also have links back to Kudoz questions.

2) The exact same thing happened while searching for the term "acción deducida", except that I got no hits at all on the exact term (not even in personal glossaries), yet if I change it to simply "deducida" I get 4 hits in personal glossaries, and zero in Kudoz archive, but the first hit in the glossaries is for "se haga lugar a la acción deducida ...", and going to that glossary entry shows me a link to a Kudz question in the archive with the same name, which includes the original phrase I was searching for.

Even more interesting, in this case: turning off “Match exact phrase” and turning on “Also search reverse language pair” to expand the search as wide as possible, now leads to 32 hits in Personal glossaries, and STILL zero in Kudoz archive, yet many of those 32 glossary entries do in fact link back to questions that really are in the archive. (It also seems VERY strange that there are only 32 references to the words “acción” and “deducida” in the entire Kudoz data base….)


Therefore I have to conclude that the search engine is broken and does not actually turn up all of the relevant entries in the Kudoz questions archive.


Is this a known issue? Is it already being fixed?


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 21:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Still broken.... Jun 9, 2006

It is now one month since I posted the above report.

The feature is still broken, still does not turn up all the references, and nobody even seems to be interested.

I thought that the glossary was supposed to be THE key feature of Proz.com? So how come nobody seems to care the it is broken?


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
maybe temporal Jun 9, 2006

Hi Stuart,

I have noticed what you said a couple of times.

I use the glossaries very often and the search engine seems to be working fine, all in all.

However, there were two or three times when I looked for some term that I KNEW was there and I coudn`t find. I did all kind of special searches (by term, by my personal glosssary, by field) until I finally found it. Strange enough, when I run again the original search, the term was there (where it wasn´t before). Now you see it now you don`t.

I don`t think the feature is broken. It might have been a temporary bug or that it needs to be improved. Nobody is perfect, not even search engines I guess.

Saludos,

Walter


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 21:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It might be much worse than it appears to be.... Jun 11, 2006

Walter Landesman wrote:

I have noticed what you said a couple of times.


Hi Walter,

Thanks! I was beginning to think it was just me!

Yes, I agree that Term Search is working mostly, and it does give useful answers most of the time, but that still does not mean that is is working properly.

What I was trying to point out here is that if it doesn't find the thing that you actually need, then it is not as useful as it could be, and I think it deserves to be looked at by the programmers. After all, the database is the entire point of Proz.com! It is the heart and soul of the entire project, so it it isn't working right, then it needs attention!

Since you and I have both discovered that it skips terms that we KNOW are in there, I really do wonder how many terms it is skipping that we DON'T know about!

I mean, for example, if a search turns up a total of 20 terms, then does that mean that there are ONLY those 20 references in the database, or does it mean that there might be another 5 or 10 or 50 that it DIDN'T find? That's my concern.

You only NOTICE the problem is when a search does not find a term that you know for a fact that exists, but most of the time we are searching for things that we DON’T know to exist, so if those searches produce several answers, you really don't know if it gave you ALL of the answers in the data base, or if it skipped some.

It really is possible that every single search is skipping valid terms and only turning up a fraction of the total in the database...

If so, that would be very sad.

That’s why I raised the issue in the first place: this problem might be a lot more serious than it looks: As long as each search turns up a few valid references, it SEEMS to be working, but there just isn’t any way of knowing if you got ALL of the valid references. It might well be that it missed the very one that you needed most!

I hope I am wrong and that it really is only missing a very small fraction of answers, such as the ones that you and I have noticed, but what if…?

Stuart


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