Unexpected search problems

I read one of your articles about how searching and building indexes and all is hard — and I used to write software — so I’m pointing out a problem that floored me a bit but I get that there isn’t an easy fix.

Background: I’m part of the chronic illness community online and have a friend that has a medical device I’ll call a v-gram (making that up but it’s a similar sort of word). She asked me if I remembered something about the history of it, so I tried searching Agenda to answer.

What I did: Search for “v-gram” in Agenda.

What happened: I got matches for all words that started with “v" and all occurences of “gram"

What I expected: for “v-gram” to be treated as a word, so only instances of “v-gram” be found

Things that might be helpful to know (Agenda version, OS and model, etc): Agenda 14.0.4 (224); Mac OS Monterey 12.3.1; MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)

This was disconcerting because I had about a zillion matches and couldn’t easily find the ones I wanted. Thankfully, my friend could find the information elsewhere. I thought about what I could do to make it easier in the future; maybe change all instances of “v-gram” to “vgram” or a hash tag but even then I’d have to actually find every instance of “v-gram” in order to change it, and I’m not sure how to do that easily.

Something to think about? Thanks & take care!

Thanks for the feedback. At the moment search in Agenda is very basic, something we’d like to address in a future update. It means that at the moment we only index tokens, which are separated by spaces, dashes etc. This means that v-gram will be indexed as “v” and “gram”, hence the results you got. In order to support something like “v-gram” we need to add support for so-called phrase searching, you’d then be able to search for “v-gram” (using the quotes) and it would only find the thing you’re looking for. As said, something we want to support down the line.

Regarding the renaming of tags, that’s now possible in Agenda 14 using the tag browser: Take POWERFUL ACTIONS using your NOTES with Agenda 14 - YouTube

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Ok, I searched for “gram” and that was a lot fewer hits; I then added the tag #vgram to all the real instances. It took a little while but it wasn’t near as many hits as when I was searching for the real “v-gram”, so it wasn’t too bad. Just did a test search on “v-gram” and not only does it much “very” and “we’ve”, but also “every” and “Grave” (I’ve been doing some genealogy recently). The latter matches surprise me.

I guess I should start using hashtags more. I used @ for people a lot but haven’t used hashtags as much, probably because much of what I do is people oriented. I do like being able to rename tags and merge them. Of course, now I want to do that for people, too! Always something else to do…


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