Database Search FAQ

 

Questions

  1. I'm never getting any hits or only very few.
  2. I'm getting too many hits
  3. I'd rather have more selection criteria
  4. Where can I send suggestions/critique to?
  5. I'm missing some search criteria - can you add them?
  6. I've searched for a certain class/country and found images that don't match those criteria.
  7. I'm getting the message "Could not connect to database..."
  8. I'm getting the message "table xyz is full".

Answers

I'm never getting any hits or only very few.

If you get zero hits, but no error message, your search criteria were too narrow. The farther you go back in time, the fewer pictures are available. So if you search for picures from a 5 year range in the 19th century ou may get over a hundred hits, while a 5 year range in the 10th century may not turn up anything. Widen your year range and/or leave out the country criterion. If the pictures you get still aren't what you've been looking for, you'll at least know that you haven't missed anything.

I'm getting too many hits

It's the reverse of the above: Narrow down the year range or stick to one country/region. If you just wanted a quick overview of the fashion of a century without wading through hundreds of pictures, use the static image galleries of this site (there's one chapter per century). For the 18th century, there are even "guided tours", and for the 19th and early 20th, a timeline.

I'd rather have more selection criteria

The database allows quite complex searches, but there's always a tradeoff between complexity and usability. Database logs (which record search terms and number of hits) have shown that the more criteria there are, the lower the success rate - simply because most people don't bother with search tips or cautions, no matter how prominently they are placed. There is an expert search wchich you will find if you read some instructions first.

Where can I send suggestions/critique to?

I'd be happy about constructive feedback - I'm always working on improving the search engine. Please refer to the contact page to let me know what you think.

I've searched for a certain country and found images that don't match

Some of those may be mistakes, but: The search will not only find the country that you've entered, but also those pictures that have no country values at all. There is a number of images where I simply don't know what category to put them in, so I've left those fields blank, hoping that some visitor some day can supply more information. Other images, typically 19th/20th century fashion plates, are by nature international.

So, if I had entered a class or country, that would have been too restrictive on my part. I prefer to lay those images I didn't dare to categorise at your feet, trusting you to make the final distinction, rather than forcing my personal perception onto you.

I'm getting the message "Could not connect to database..."

The most probable reason is that I've uploaded a new version of the search script and forgot to adjust the user/password. Tell me or wait until I notice the mistake.

I'm getting the message "table xyz is full..."

A sure sign that the database is overloaded. I have to share it with thousands of other users. :( Simply try again, or if the problem persists, try a more restrictive search.

 

 

 

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