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Searching Newsgroups

Browsing newsgroups is okay for starters, but Deja's real power lies in its newsgroup search capabilities. Your best bet is to skip the form on the Deja home page, which is likely to produce too much information to be very useful. Instead, use the Power Search form for your Deja newsgroup searches.

To search with Power Search:

Click on Power Search (Figure 15.7) on the Deja home page to access the Power Search form (Figure 15.8).

Figure 15.7. Most of the time, you'll want to use this link on the Deja home page to go directly to Power Search.

Figure 15.8. The Power Search form is easy to use and gives you a great deal of control over your newsgroup searches.

Type your search terms in the text box and use the drop-down menu to specify whether you want to search for all or any of the keywords (Figure 15.9).

Figure 15.9. Selecting all on this menu tells Deja to do an AND search for the keywords typed in the text box. For an OR search, click on any.

Because the Deja archives are so vast (more than 1.5 terabytes of data), you may sometimes want to limit your search to a specific database using the Archive drop-down menu (Figure 15.10). Choices include:

Figure 15.10. Use the Archive menu to limit your search a specific Deja database.

Complete. The entire archive.

Standard. Everything except Adult, Jobs, and For Sale.

Adult. Messages suitable only for adult readers because of explicit sexual content.

Jobs. Job openings and resume postings.

For Sale. Classified ads and advertising messages.

The Results Type menu (Figure 15.11) allows you to specify whether your search results page displays discussions (a list of newsgroup messages), forums (a list of newsgroup names), or Deja Classic (an older display format that dates back to when the service was called Deja News).

Figure 15.11. This menu tells Deja whether you want to locate newsgroup messages (discussions) or names (forums). It also includes the Deja Classic option.

Many longtime newsgroup searchers prefer the Deja Classic format and have prevailed upon Deja to continue to offer it. If you're using the service for the first time, you'll probably find that the discussions and forums options are perfectly acceptable.

Next you'll be given the option to specify these search options:

Language. You can limit your results to a specific language, or set the Language option to ANY for the widest possible search.

Field Search. You can search the Subject, Forum (i.e., newsgroup name), and Author fields of newsgroup messages by simply typing search terms in the spaces provided on the Power Search form.

Date Search. You can search for messages posted within a certain range of dates going back to May 1999. Be sure to specify dates in the format MMM D YYYY or MMM DD YYYY (for example, Jan 1 2000 or Mar 24 2001).

Power Search also lets you choose to have your results sorted by confidence (how well it matches your search terms), subject, forum, author, or date. And you can specify how many search results will be displayed per page (25, 50, or 100).

Once you've made all your search selections, click the Search button to submit your query and view your results (Figure 15.12).

Figure 15.12. Here's an example of how Deja presents newsgroup search results.

To view the complete text of any message (Figure 15.13), click on its Subject link. Once you're on a message page, you can scroll back and forth through other messages, use the Thread link to view the complete message thread (original message and all subsequent replies), and post messages of your own.

Figure 15.13. When you display a specific message, your search terms will be presented in bold to make them easy to spot.

You can also click on the Author link to learn about the person's other newsgroup interests and activities. Though by no means foolproof, checking a person's posting history (Figure 15.14) can help you assess the reliability of a source.

Figure 15.14. Clicking on an Author link shows you the person's posting history—the specific newsgroups in which the person participates and the number of messages posted.



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