Thursday, March 10, 2005

The silence of the editors

Apr. 8 updates - editor no longer silent, search still broken but different string needed. minor rewording.

Note: complaining is our core competency; so we will focus our energies there, and leave the serious reporting to Yubanet.

News flash: we are not popular. When we emailed the open and engaging(*) new editor of The Union requesting an interview, he asked for our URL and said he'd need the boss's permission; we promptly replied, and he has been quiet as a churchmouse ever since.

Regarding The Union's equally silently defective Archive Search:
The Union's webmaster did at last respond to our email and acknowledge that there was still a problem; a detailed explanation was provided as to where we could go to find archived paper and microfilm to page and scroll through, respectively, as a workaround until the fix was in.

We asked the following questions in reply:
While [the Archive] Search is [only] returning partial results, do you plan on putting up a warning to this effect on the Search page?

Where does the ability to fix it lie? (Publicus? Swift techs in Reno? Grass Valley?)

Given that it's been broken since last summer, and previous editor said "we are working on it" back in September [sorry-actually October] ...any idea how much longer it's likely to stay broken for?
We got these answers:
Thank you for your continued concern with the Archive feature. I have documented your problems and examples and we are looking into why this is happening.

Thank you for your patience. We appreciate your readership and your participation.
There is still no notice warning the user of incomplete results(*) on the Search page.

From email from The Union last October:
Swift Newspaper techs in Reno (where our site is hosted) says it is a problem with Publicus, our Web software. Publicus needs to reindex our archive. Problem is, Publicus tells us it has no time because of something to do with the Florida hurricanes...
We see that Roger Ebert is now using Publicus too - "New web tools keeps popular movie portal on the cutting edge of internet-delivered content" - we hope that his Archive Search will work better than The Union's does, and that he won't find himself wanting to rewind time again to make a different decision. Keep an eagle eye on those archive searches, Roger.

-40- *

Second news flash: it is abundantly clear why, when Thomas Harris wrote his novel, he did not call it "The Silence of the Frogs".

"Archive Search" test: On the Search page, type
  "grand jury" "david wright"
and see if this Nov. 3 letter (2004) is among those returned.

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