Vivat GGREN!

GGRENir: FAQ




Questions answered in this file:

  1. Questions about searching GGRENir

    1. Which search interface should I use for what types of searches?
    2. Why don't I find what I've been searching for?
    3. Do you index the full text of the documents for which there are records in GGRENir?

  2. Questions about the thesaurus used for GGRENir (and about access via browsing)

    1. Why do you use your own thesaurus for indexing instead of using one of the more common products (DDC, LCSH, etc.)?
    2. Why don't I find what I'm looking for in the thesaurus?
    3. I've come across an index-tem the entry for which threatens me with more hits in the database than I'm willing to have a look at. What should I do?

  3. Questions about the content of GGRENir

    1. What is indexed in GGRENir, and what is not?
    2. When using GGRENir I found out, that there is no entry for http://aaa.bbb-ccc.ddd.ee/fff/, although it is an excellent resource and probably in the focus of your internetography: why don't you add it to the database?
    3. Do you index the full text of the documents for which there are records in GGRENir?
    4. How many URLs are indexed in GGRENir, at what date was the last update?

  4. Questions about the performance of GGRENir

    1. How fast are your connections to the internet?
    2. I suspect that the machine you are using for GGRENir might be a trifle faster. Am I right?

  5. Miscellaneous questions

    1. How many URLs are indexed in GGRENir, at what date was the last update?
    2. To whom should I send questions that are not answered by this FAQ?



Questions about searching GGRENir


Which search interface should I use for what types of searches?


Answer: § Use the standard interface if your search is just for an author and/or if you are searching just for an URL and/or if you are searching for something than can be described using a single term or a single phrase concerning which you are very very confident that it has been used in the title or description of all the resources that might be of relevance to you. § Use the advanced interface for searches for phrases that you'd have used to describe any resources you are looking for, but that perhaps neither we in our stupidity have used for the descrition nor the authors of the documents in their enlightened excentricity have used for the title of their documents. (e.g.: Instead of searching via the "standard search interface" for "Tudor England" [0 hits on 2000-03-23], use the advanced interface and insert "Tudor" in "field 1" of the second block and "England" into "field 2" of the second block [2 hits on 2000-02-23].). § Do as well use the advanced interface if you are looking for information about a geographic area in a certain period and that area has been rather in the focus of renaissance studies; in such a case enter the name of the area (e.g. "Italy") into any field in the second block and use block five to limit the results to those concerning a certain period. § If in doubt: use the advanced interface.


Why don't I find what I've been searching for?


Answer: This is a question to which there are many many possible answers; here are some of them:


Do you index the full text of the documents for which there are records in GGRENir?


Answer: No. Our automatos accesses the fulltext of the documents in order to build a "fingerprint" of the document indexed so that severe changes in the content of a document can be spotted, but there is no fulltext information in GGRENir that you could use for your searches. There are some excellent tools on the web that permit fulltext-searches (if you read German a section of a document I created for one of my courses migt be of some interest to you). When searching GGRENir you search for information supplied by our local human indexers here and you search for information given by the authors of the documents via titles and sometimes abstracts of these documents; you don't search the full text of the documents indexed.



Questions about the thesaurus used for GGRENir (and about access via browsing)


Why do you use your own thesaurus for indexing instead of using one of the more common products (DDC, LCSH, etc.)?


Answer: Any thesaurus we could use has to have the following properties: As we did not and do not know about any thesaurus (with the exception of the one we use) that has the mentioned properties: we are using the thesaurus we are using: our own thesaurus.


Why don't I find what I'm looking for in the thesaurus?


Answer: One or more of the following reasons could explain this:


I've come across an index-tem the entry for which threatens me with more hits in the database than I'm willing to have a look at. What should I do?


Answer: You might proceed as follows:
  1. Select the Latin name of that index term (e.g. "Physica generalis"),
  2. switch to the advanced search interface,
  3. enter that Latin name into "field 1" of the second block,
  4. restrict the number of items retrieved by entering one, two or three additional mandatory terms into "field 2" to "field 4" and/or limit the set of results by restricting the results to records concerning a certain era using the options offered by block five of the advanced search interface.



Questions about the content of GGRENir


What is indexed in GGRENir, and what is not?


Answer: § The subject focus of GGRENir is on Renaissance intellectual history, with a special focus on history of philosopy. GGRENir is rather weak in some fields and extremely weak in other fields (it is certainly not the best resource if you are looking for information about Shakespeare) while there are fields in which it might be termed almost decent. § There is a certain bias in favour of "scholarly" resources and a certain bias against "historical re-enacting resources" and most papers read in undergraduate seminars and tutorials. This does not mean, that we consider such resources as useless or devoid of value: they are just not in the focus of our interest (at least as far as the content of GGRENir is concerned: we are of course very interested in the papers our undergraduate students read in our seminars - but that's a different context). § The "temporal" focus of GGRENir is on ca. 1348 to ca. 1648. § At the moment GGRENir is rather "eurocentric". This is not due to any lack of interest on our side in resources concerning the time from 1348 to 1648 outside of Europe: we just do not know about many such resources. § Ahem, indeed, alas, it is true: there are many many languages we do not read. Thus there may be eccelent resources available we did not include because we were unable to asess them due to our linguistic incompetencies.


When using GGRENir I found out, that there is no entry for http://aaa.bbb-ccc.ddd.ee/fff/, although it is an excellent resource and probably in the focus of your internetography: why don't you add it to the database?


Answer: That's probably due to our ignorance. Please do tell us about this resource by sending an eMail to ua212ac@mail.lrz-muenchen.de.



Questions about the performance of GGRENir


How fast are your connections to the internet?


Answer: At the moment we have 10 Mbits per second on our (rather small) local network and 100 Mbits per second to the internet. The largest result of a real search that was encountered between the start of GGRENir in March 1999 and 2000-03-22 under ideal conditions would thus have needed something like 2 seconds to transfer. If you suspect a "bottleneck": use traceroot (i.e. tracert from the Command-Line of most Windows machines) to find out where it is.


I suspect that the machine you are using for GGRENir might be a trifle faster. Am I right?


Answer: Yes, you are right. It has a fast processor and it has fast disks and its RAM is sufficient in most cases, but: it is not used only to serve GGRENir. You will sometimes notice, that response to your first search in GGRENir is slower than is the response to your second, third, etc. search: in such cases probably the database-index for GGRENir has been swapped from RAM to disk and has to be reloaded from disk to RAM. We are observing the developments of the situation. The hits to the server increase; the use of GGRENir increases. We are (slowly, tentatively) thinking about transfering our WWW-services to a new machine (3 or more processors, 1GB RAM), but: such a machine would be rather expensive, and we don't intend to start charging for the use of GGRENir; thus: if you want to offer yourself as a sponsor: please make yourself heard … [;-)]!



Miscellaneous questions


How many URLs are indexed in GGRENir, at what date was the last update?


Answer: These and similar questions are answered by a special file ("GGRENir: State of the Database (Dates, Updates, URLs, Hits, ...)"). That file can be accessed via the link "---> Information about the current state of GGRENir" in the "responsibility-statement-block" of the GGRENir homepage. In case you should want to boomark that file or/and should want to submit it to a program that checks for updates: the URL is: http://www.phil-hum-ren.uni-muenchen.de/GGRENirDB/GGRENirUPD.htm.


To whom should I send questions that are not answered by this FAQ?


Answer: If these questions are questions about GGRENir: consider sending an email to Heinrich C. Kuhn (hck@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)





Author: Heinrich C. Kuhn
Document created: 2000-03-23
Last update: 2000-03-27