I have a feeling you have been there... "I know I wrote that article! Now where is it!!! I want to share it with somebody!" You can go back through your archives listing (it's over there on the right-hand sidebar... every post you have on AR sorted by MONTH). But that takes Wayyyy to long! After a couple of months of listings, you give up on that one. But wait, I can search my tags! Uhhh, well the first 479 posts on ActiveRain you had no clue how to properly tag an article, so that's not going to work (on the older posts). There must be another way!
Yesterday's post, I shared my ActiveRain Wishlist (work in progress) and in your comments, several mentioned this problem about how you cannot search and find your past articles very efficiently. I think AR can help create some new tools in the future to help us with this, but I want to show you some ideas you can use right now and our best friend Google!
Let's use Jeff Dowler to illustrate the point. You can see by Jeff's longevity on AR that the volume of his posts is substantial (see archives list in the graphic above)! We are going to use some special advanced (but easy) operators in the google search box. First of all I'm going to specify in quotes "posted by jeff dowler" and by using the quotes it takes that phrase literally. Otherwise, it might find results where Jeff was a commenter and not the author. Next we use the site: operator and tell it that the results must be on the activerain.com website. Lastly, we use the intitle: operator and put the keyword (let's pick something Jeff might write about!) beaches. The results as you see below is 74 hits. By using intitle: the word had to be in the title and thus the topic and not just a passing word in the article.
Now let's say that in our mind, we know it was a recent article... must have been in the past year. On the left sidebar of google, you can click the date range. Let's click the "past year" option and see how it narrows down the search. Aha... 4 articles. (see below)
Finally, let's be a little more specific... Jeff says "I know I wrote once about rock sculptures, where is that. Let's use intitle:"rock sculptures" to be specific (and the surrounding quotes means exact phrase match). Aha, there it is! Posted Dec 2 of 2008 and if you had to go month by month back to it, you would have given up long ago!
Now, I highly suggest you learn how to use tags in your posts. It makes it much easier to catalog your posts. You are essentially creating an index that you know you can use in the future. See my post, Your Tags Are Virtual Folders for more info. But if you have a whole store of articles that aren't tagged well, I hope the above tips can help you find "that article" again. Happy searching!