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): http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread762746/pg1 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 effectively. 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 made. 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: http://www.tracker-software.com/product/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: http://www.dtsearch.com/download.html 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 people. (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 material). 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 compiled. 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. CONCLUSION: 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, Isaac Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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