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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Mar > Mar 9

Searching UFO Material On Your Hard-Drive

From: Isaac Koi <isaackoi.nul>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2012 23:07:17 +0000
Archived: Fri, 09 Mar 2012 03:43:52 -0500
Subject: Searching UFO Material On Your Hard-Drive

The email below is being posted as background to a few posts
I'll be making in coming months.

I've recently been testing several pieces of software to make it
easier and faster to find UFO material on my computer. I wanted
to see which piece(s) of software were quickest and/or easiest
to use to search through the UFO material on my hard-drive.

This is a project which has interested me quite a bit in the
last few months. I posted about part of this project a few
months, when it was in its infancy, on this List and on some
other forums - including in the post at the link below at (which
referred to the use of one particular piece of software to
search, and gave links to, collections of MUFON Journals, APRO
Bulletins and NICAP publications):


My collection of digitised material has been growing
exponentially in the last few years (to include many books,
journals, magazines, official documents, archives of email
discussion lists, catalogues, indexes and other material),
particularly since I have found a few ways to search this
material more efficiently which has caused me to seek to
increase my collection of digitised material.

Obviously, I'm not about to put all this material online, for
numerous reasons (not the least of which are copyright issues).
However, I'm happy to share some tips and techniques which may
help others to search their own collections more efficiently and

I had previously been interested in finding efficient ways of
searching for UFO material online. In particular, I spent a
fairly considerable amount of time seeking to develop various
customised search engines (using, in particular, Google's free
Google Custom Search service) to search some of the better UFO
websites in a single search. I was not happy with the results of
those efforts, particularly because the index used by the Google
Custom Search service is more limited than the index used by the
main Google search service. Because I was not happy with the
results, I don't think I bothered posting here (or elsewhere) a
link to the best of the various customised search engines I

Because of the limitations I found with the Google Custom Search
and because quite a bit of UFO material is not available online,
more recently I've been focusing on searching UFO material on my
hard-drive. As I mentioned here a while ago, I was very pleased
a few months ago to find a piece of software (PDF-Xchange
Viewer) which allowed fast searches of multiple PDF files on my
hard-drive (with an ability to specify which file or folders
were to be searched). More recently, I've been comparing that
piece of software with the Copernic Desktop Search software
(helpfully mentioned to me by Chris Aubeck on the EuroUFO List).

These two pieces of software can be found, respectively, at the
two links below:

(a) PDF-Xchange Viewer:


(b) Copernic Desktop Search: http://www.copernic.com/

I've found both of these pieces of software useful. I now use
both, for different types of searches.

I'll compare and contrast them below.

I have also tried DtSearch (which seems to be quite similar to
Copernic Desktop Search - but more expensive, at close to 200
dollars), kindly recommended by Maurizio Verga on the EuroUFO
List. I installed the trial version from the link below but had
a problem. After a while, I received an error message stating
that there was insufficient space on my hard-drive to create an
index since a total of about 120Gb was required. This seems
rather excessive to index a 500Gb hard-drive, being over 20
percent of the total hard-drive space. I don't know if the error
message was due to a bug or something to do with the fact I
already have another index (generated by Copernic Desktop
Search) on that hard-drive:

So, I'll only give some comments on PDF-Xchange Viewer and
Copernic Desktop Search:

(1) Cost

The basic version of PDF-Xchange Viewer is free (and does
everything I want to use it for, including searching large
collections of files) while Copernic Desktop Search is not free
to use in relation to collections larger than 2GB. The cost of
Copernic is not extremely high (at 49 dollars on its website,
but after downloading the free trial I was soon offered the
software for a "special price" of 39 dollars) - but after being
used to free searches online I'm sure this cost may deter some

(2) Types of files searched:

Copernic Desktop Search is not limited to searching PDF files
(and searches, for example, Microsoft Word/Excel files, on my
hard-drive) while PDF-Xchange Viewer (as its name may imply) is
limited in this way.

Since (for reasons outline below) I generally prefer using PDF-
Xchange Viewer, I've recently had a fairly strong incentive to
convert as much digitised material as possible from Word
documents etc to PDF format. Some of you will have noticed, for
example, that I've been seeking to convert the archives of
various email discussion lists to PDF format to enable me to use
PDF-Xchange Viewer to search those archives (amongst other

Of course, it goes without saying (which will not stop it saying
it...) but both pieces of software can only search digitised
information. Neither is going to help with the piles of books
and documents which I haven't scanned. Again, this has given me
an incentive recently to think about increasing the amount of
UFO material which is digitised. That's probably a subject best
left to another day...

(3) Initial set-up time:

Copernic Desktop Search can take quite a while to produce an
initial index. I had to leave one of my computers alone for
about 4 days for an index of its 500Gb hard-drive to be

PDF-Xchange Viewer does not create any index - it needs to run
through each specified file/folder each time a search is
performed. This meansit is quicker to set up.

(4) Speed of obtaining search results:

Copernicus is MUCH faster at producing a list of search results.
Results are virtually instantaneous.

A search of a sizeable collection using PDF-Xchange Viewer can
take quite a few minutes (or even hours when I specify a search
of my entire collection of UFO material).

(5) Speed of REVIEWING search results:

I have found it MUCH easier and quicker to go through the
results of searches in PDF-Xchange Viewer.

The search results in PDF-XChange Viewer indicate how many times
the relevant keyword or phrase appears in any particular
document (with a helpful snippet of surrounding words, which
often allows you to eliminate many of the results) and allows
you to click on each one in turn very quickly, with the relevant
page being displayed almost instantly.

Trying to review the results of a search on Copernic Desktop
Search is, relatively speaking, a pain in the backside. There is
a preview window which displays the first relevant occurrence of
a keyword/phrase within a document when you highlight that
document's filename, but I've found that preview window to be
relatively slow and the formatting of text in that preview
window is often almost unreadable.


I much prefer using PDF-XChange Viewer to Copernic Desktop
Search. Generally, I'd rather wait a few minutes (or even hours)
for PDF-Viewer to produce its search results and then zip
through those results very quickly and easily. I can start a
search on PDF-XChangeViewer and carry on with other tasks on my
computer (or simply start a search before going to bed or before
going out for a meal) and review search results when they are
ready. There isn't usually any massive urgency about getting
results of a search regarding UFO material, so I tend to use
PDF-XChange Viewer because reviewing the results of a search
takes up less of my (limited) spare time. To some extent, the
most appropriate piece of software depends on the type of search
- if there are likely to be a lot of results (e.g. for
"astronomer" or "meteorologist") then I'd focus on the
ease/speed of reviewing results but if I'm not sure there will
be many (or any) results then I would do a quick search using
Copernic Desktop Search.

I hope these comments are useful to some of you.

All the best,


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