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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 49, December 3, 2006, Article 3

NUMISMATIC SEARCH ENGINE DEBUTS

Wouldn't it be great if you could do a web search ONLY on sites
that relate directly to numismatics?  Well, now you can.  Using
the sites previously discussed in our Featured Web Site section or
mentioned in E-Sylum articles, I've created a numismatics-only
custom search engine using Google.  Here's how I describe it on
the new Coin and Paper Money search engine "home page":

"Search coin and paper money web sites hand-picked for some of the
best numismatic research information available on the web. Many have
been highlighted as Featured Web Sites in The E-Sylum, our award-
winning weekly email newsletter for researchers, writers and collectors
of coins, medals, tokens, banknotes and other paper money. E-Sylum
contributors include many of the top numismatic authors and dealers
in the U.S. and the world."

The URL for the numismatic search engine is:
coinbooks.org/search

The first web site added?  Our own, of course: coinbooks.org.
This ensures that the back issues of The E-Sylum are included.
Next came many of the top numismatic auction house sites, since
there is a great deal of good research information there.  After
that came many of the "usual suspects" - the major national, state,
and specialty organization web sites, numismatic museums, mints,
central banks etc.  Many of these also include some good research
material.

Then came the Featured Web Sites.  These are the real key to making
the customized search engine useful.  Many came recommended by our
readership and all have been vetted by me.  Sites with little
original material, scanty content or offerings for sale with little
accompanying information are excluded.  A number of sites are
unfortunately no longer available, and these had to be excluded.
The engine description says "hand-picked", and that's very true.
Literally true as well - my mouse-operating hand is sore from all
the clicking.

What's not included?  Mainstream publishing sites like the New
York Times, sites relating to non-numismatic history, and sites
dealing with non-numismatic literature.  Including these would
dilute the laser-focus on numismatic topics. However, where
individual pages on mainstream sites do refer to numismatic topics,
these are included.  For example, npr.org archives many National
Public Radio stories, and if a particular story relates to
numismatics, that particular page is included in the index.

Many E-Sylum articles refer to individual news articles from
publications around the world, and these particular web pages
(assuming they still exist) are in the search engine as well.
For example, the query "50 states quarter launch ceremony"
locates contemporary articles on the launch parties for the
Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine and Rhode Island coins.

By excluding most non-numismatic sites, searches for numismatic
connections can be very targeted.  For example, simply entering
"Zachary Taylor" into the numismatic search engine produces
references to Taylor medals in the E-Sylum archive, on the Stack's,
Coin World, and the U.S. Mint sites.  The same search on the
full-blown Google search engine produces little numismatic
information.  Other name searches such as "Martin Beistle" are
also quite targeted, excluding similar "hits" on most non-numismatic
web sites.  Personal name searches are also quite informative -
a very quick way to get broad background on any numismatic
personality.  I know you're dying to do it, so go ahead - do a
vanity search on your own name.

Searching for "Plagiarism" locates articles on numismatic
plagiarism as well as sites with information on how to check for
it or guard against it.  Searching for "Liberty Dollar" locates
a large number of articles on NORFED's private coin as well as
items on Seated Liberty Dollars.

As with any search engine, the more specific your query, the more
specific your query, the more targeted the results.  Using "seated
liberty dollar" as a query, the result is a bullseye - the top
links are the CoinFacts page on Seated Liberty dollars and a
listing of Seated Liberty dollars lots sold by Bowers and Merena.

To make the search engine as complete and current as possible, we
rolled up our sleeves and built a tool to help.  Many thanks to
John Nebel for creating a program to cull all web links from our
E-Sylum archive.  After reviewing the list John's program generated
and trimming it appropriately, I added these links to the search
engine, bringing the total number of indexed web sites to well
over 3,000.  NBS webmaster Bruce Perdue added a new page for the
search engine to our web site for easy access.

Each week John's program will extract the web links for all web
sites mentioned in the latest E-Sylum issue, and I'll add these
to the search engine to keep it current.

Remember, this is a work in progress.  A search engine is like a
big hulking machine with lots of knobs and levers to push.  We'll
continue to fine-tune it based on your feedback.  Please give it
a try and keep coming back whenever you want a more targeted
search for numismatic information.

Have a web site that ought to be included?  Let us know.  Getting
funny results? Not seeing the search results you expect?  Let us
know that, too.  Based on your input we'll turn the knobs and
levers and see if we can improve the search results for everyone.
Write to me anytime at whomren@coinlibrary.com.

To use the numismatic search engine, see:
coinbooks.org/search/

  Wayne Homren, Editor

Google
 
coinbooks.org Web
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

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