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afraba

Improve searching power in multiple ways

Idea

Since this is not a relational app, the main limitation for a hard user is the over-abundance of results in most practical searches. A definite overhauling of search capabilities is in order.

Remember this is a database, so it is all about searching.

Many ideas are already proposed, to which I subscribe, but the main issue is to improve its searching capabilities to make up for he inherent limitations bound to the core design of the program. And with an eye on the far-sight purpose: Making search results more succint and relevant.

So a ‘minimal’ set of improvements would be :

1. Boolean searches overall. Including the property of belonging (or not belonging) to a certain set of notebooks.

2. A SEARCH CONTEXT MODE, with two options: ‘Global’ or ‘Titles’ should be available, and easily changeable from the search screen. Currently, when you search for the word ‘conference’ for instance, too many results appear, which makes is useless. Again, the main drawback is now that it gives too many (irrelevant) results, due in part to the fact that it searches everywhere, even inside pdfs and pictures... It can easily be checked that most searches are done by current users with the ‘title:’ keyword in front of the searched terms. Making it easy to select ‘Titles’ as the search context (as well as allowing the user to exclude a set of Notebooks) would even decrease the computing burden for the engine (!)  This should be combined with adding an optional ‘global’ keyword in the search string command (analogous to the ‘title:’ keyword, and with opposite effect). So even when you select a ‘Titles’ context for your search, you should still be able to include a global search for some particular string with ‘global:<String>’ .

3. With the result of a search, you should be able to apply another search that applies only to the particular set of notes you have obtained, to refine and trim the result of the previous search. This is very important, with an impact on the ‘too-many results’ problem and improving the usefulness of the whole application. Of course, it is equivalent to a boolean combination of several search orders, but being able to do it sequentially streamlines the retrieval process.

Additional improvements could be made to empower the notes-linking capabilities. Ideally, from any note you should be able to enter a search mode for locating several notes in your folders’ hierarchy and by just clicking on them (control-click for multiple select) the link(s) should appear under the cursor with the note title as caption. (of course while doing that, you should not loose focus on your working note)

 

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7 hours ago, afraba said:

Currently, when you search for the word ‘conference’ for instance, too many results appear, which makes is useless. 

To make the results more useful; include additional search arguments.

>>Ican easily be checked that most searches are done by current users with the ‘title:’ keyword in front of the searched terms. 

The keyword is actually intitle: 
This applies to the specific text argument, for example search intitle:conference
You can add additional arguments, global or intitle

The search feature is documented at https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/208313828

>>1. Boolean

Agreed.  The lack of both and/or arguments is limiting

>>Including the property of belonging (or not belonging) to a certain set of notebooks.

Agreed.  Not connected with the boolean request, but the notebook restrictions are questionable.
Tag searches are more functional.

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With several thousands of notes, many including searchable long documents, the probability that any ordinary language word is in a given note is close to 100% Of course you can include more search terms, and tags, but the problem is that you sometimes don’t have or don’t know them. And a search condition that is fulfilled by most (thousands) of notes, is virtually useless.

So it should be posssible to make searching ‘intitle’ by default, for those that use it virtually always.

As for the possibility to include and exclude notebooks in your searches, I still think it useful. Tags and notebooks are not the same. Tags are faster and better for notes that are spread over a range of locations and contexts. But they are prone to the ‘too-many-results’ problem. Imagine for instance you have a tag added to all your ‘interesting’ notes. it is a legitimate tag, and one that probably many users have. Well, unless you add further tags or more search terms, it is hadly useful at all, for it could end up hitting hundreds, or thousands of results.

That’s where notebooks come handy. You use notebooks to classify information items that are separate and you will never need to treat as related. For instance, you have a ‘Work’ and a ‘Private’ or ‘Home’ notebook, because you are fairly sure you’ll never need to mix them. When you are working and you search for your ‘interesting’ notes with the corresponding tag, being able to exclude your ‘Home’ notebook is a bonus, since you are effectively reducing the size of the result set by leaps and bounds.

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1 hour ago, afraba said:

Tags and notebooks are not the same.

Field1 and Field2 in the note's metadata

I'm well aware of the notebook features; sync/local, private/shared, default, offline
Also the tag features; multiple entries per note, unlimited hierarchy.

>>For instance, you have a ‘Work’ and a ‘Private’ or ‘Home’ notebook, because you are fairly sure you’ll never need to mix them.

Work/Private/Home tags work for me; mixed or not.

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On 5/18/2019 at 2:09 PM, afraba said:

1. Boolean searches overall. Including the property of belonging (or not belonging) to a certain set of notebooks.

Main request and discussion for full Boolean search is here (it's a pretty old one, fwiw): You should add your vote there.

 

On 5/18/2019 at 2:09 PM, afraba said:

it can easily be checked that most searches are done by current users with the ‘title:’ keyword in front of the searched terms. 

?? I find the claim that most searches are title searches very unlikely, but "intitle:" search is already a thing. See the Evernote search grammar reference: https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php

Other stuff:

  • including multiple, and excluding notebooks has been another longstanding request.
  • Iterative filtering would also be useful where it's missing. You can certainly do that in the Windows and Android applications, at least to a certain extent.
  • The tag/ notebook dichotomy is well-known to experienced Evernoters. Short form, tags categorize, notebooks partition. Beyond that, how ou use those properties is up to the individual user.

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On 5/18/2019 at 5:54 PM, afraba said:

With several thousands of notes, many including searchable long documents, the probability that any ordinary language word is in a given note is close to 100% Of course you can include more search terms, and tags, but the problem is that you sometimes don’t have or don’t know them.

True.  One could also say that the likelihood that any ordinary language word search is going to find the note in questions is close to 0%.  Don't know how you find something if you don't know a bit about what you are seeking.

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On 5/20/2019 at 7:28 AM, jefito said:

 

Other stuff:

  • including multiple, and excluding notebooks has been another longstanding request.
  • Iterative filtering would also be useful where it's missing. You can certainly do that in the Windows and Android applications, at least to a certain extent.
  • The tag/ notebook dichotomy is well-known to experienced Evernoters. Short form, tags categorize, notebooks partition. Beyond that, how ou use those properties is up to the individual user.

 

Thanks for the link to advanced search. I read that both tag: and -tag: are supported. Is it possible that -notebook: could also be supported? Probably not, but would be helpful. Also, can notebook: also be used for stacks? Then if we move notebooks into the same stack we would be able to exclude the entire stack from search.

Thanks for the reminder of other outstanding requests. I’m looking into what people have suggested before posting my own ideas  

Cheers!

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19 minutes ago, tonychung said:

Is it possible that -notebook: could also be supported? Probably not, but would be helpful. Also, can notebook: also be used for stacks? Then if we move notebooks into the same stack we would be able to exclude the entire stack from search.

We can search for notebook: and stack:

However -notebook: and -stack: are not allowed

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