Using field tags for smarter searching

Most search engines of any sophistication will allow you to search within specific fields - for example, to search Google for pages from ‘linkedin.com' you could use the string “site:linkedin.com”. Likewise, to search PubMed for the name ‘Smith' within the ‘author’ field, you could say “Smith [au]”.  

It has always been possible to use 2dSearch in this manner by entering those exact strings as terms. But the lack of separation between content and metadata has always been a little inelegant. Which is why we’re pleased to announce this week the release of support for field tags, which allow you to express precisely this construction. So now, to search within Bing for pages from linkedin.com, you simply create the term ‘linkedin.com' then add the field tag “site”. Similarly, to search Bing for pages that have ‘profile’ in the title, you just create the term ‘profile’ and add the field tag ‘intitle’. To edit a tag, simply click on it and overtype. To remove it, just select ‘remove field tag’ from the context menu. 

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You can use this approach to add any field tag you like. Bing supports a variety of these, as does Google (although they are sometimes referred to as ‘field commands" or “search operators”). Going forwards this will be a crucial element in providing support for more complex searches on other specialist platforms. 

One of the key design principles behind 2dsearch is to provide a more direct mapping between the underlying semantics of a search and its physical appearance. Hopefully this new feature supports that principle and further extends it to greater value. 

In the meantime, we love to hear what you think and how you are using 2dSearch. Let us know by responding to this post or via the in-app feedback widget!

Tony Russell-RoseComment