I’m working on something kind of neat and hope to be able to roll it out here soon, but I can’t help but toss out a sneak preview while I’m working on it.
The idea is for a “chronoscope” — a search engine that works for time. You enter a date or a range of dates in the search, and the engine responds with pages that cover that time or time period.
I’m still working out the quirks. It will take me a bit more programming time
to transform my mock-up into an actual web-available service. And in order for
this to work, I need to mark up eight and a half years of
Picket Line posts with
datetime tags — which I have to do by hand if I want to do it right.
But I do have a mock-up that works on the pages I’ve marked up so far (mid-2008 to the present). For example, if I search for February through June, 1945, I get the following response:
|100%||21Oct10||… The Charter of the United Nations, June 26, 1945, 59…|
|100%||16Aug11||… it has been shown to him in Jesus Christ. In June 1945 I was offered the position of co-pastor of the West Cincinnati…|
|41%||29May11||… mailed it to the IRS. Hennacy’s 1945 tax statement reflected the direct action and civil disobedience impulse that would shake the League over…|
|41%||17May11||… Mr. McCrackin came to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in 1945 when it was merged with West Cincinnati Presbyterian Church. He has ministered to the…|
|41%||16Mar09||… it forces me to a kind of personal disarmament. This is a subject I have thought about and prayed over for many years. I can recall vividly hearing the news of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. I was deeply shocked. I could not then put into words the shock I felt from the news that a city of…|
|41%||06Dec10||… Nazi-coddling. After 1945 Rosenzweig received 9,000 marks ($2,250) in reparations from the West German government, which worked out to…|
|8%||15May11||… Gray received the notice that his doctorate in philosophy had been awarded in the same batch of mail that contained his draft notice. He served from 1941 to 1945 in Africa and Europe in counter-intelligence: working to root out and interrogate spies and saboteurs…|
|6%||01Mar10||… garnering material for this article, I was handed a letter with the scribbled commentary, “required reading.” It is from one Valerie Riggs, who says that she has refused to pay income taxes since 1944 and is refusing again this year because, to put it simply, she…|
|1%||01Apr11||… and fraud can land a person in federal court, according to the IRS. In the past 60 years, 30 people have gone to jail, typically for one to three months, on resistance-related charges,…|
|1%||04Mar10||… Irwin Hogenauer (1912–1984)…|
|0%||30Jun11||… tenth person it visited, it would extinguish fewer lives than the governments of the world will murder off of the field of war in the next hundred years.”…|
Note that this is really searching for times, not just strings. So for instance, things like “this year” or “the past 60 years” or “1912–1984” or “the next hundred years” all may match “February through June, 1945” (for some of these, it depends on when they were written or the surrounding context of the phrase).
The results are ranked from the most specific (“June 26, 1945” is smack dab in the search range; while “the next hundred years” only vaguely matches the search) and include a little bit of context.
This is an interesting puzzle to solve, and an innovation in searching that I haven’t seen described or implemented before, and may be unique to my blog if I ever get around to rolling it out.