The Old List Archive

[The Old List Archive, designed to archive and search the messages from June 1998 to August 1999 in the original Zachariah Dutton mailing list, was my very first database application for the Web. It is fairly simple, but has stood the test of time. I’ve left my original documentation intact, as it was in 2003.]

The Archive

In July 2003, I finally did what I should have done years ago — I created a searchable archive for the first year of the list, which I now dub "the Old List". There is a wealth of information contained in these messages, which I hope will prove useful to you.

Using old e-mail files from five years ago that I only recently discovered, I have reconstructed what I hope to be a mostly complete archive of the Old List. There are at present around three hundred messages in the archive, ranging from June 1998 to August 1999.

Searching the Archive

The DUTTON-Z Archive Search
(or Zarch) supports basic search engine syntax, as well as an advanced search.

  • Word searches return messages containing all search terms.
  • Searches are not case-sensitive.
  • Phrases can be searched for by enclosing search terms in quotation marks.

The basic search only searches the body of the messages. If you wish to search the subject, use the advanced search.

Search Examples:

  • Zachariah Dutton finds messages in which both the words ‘Zachariah’ and ‘Dutton’ appear somewhere in the message.
  • Dutton Hogan Parrish finds messages in which all of the words ‘Dutton’, ‘Hogan’, and ‘Parrish’ appear somewhere in the message.
  • "Zachariah Dutton" finds messages in which the phrase ‘Zachariah Dutton’ appears (i.e. the two words appear together).
  • "Zachariah Dutton" "Stephen Penn" find messages which contain both the phrases ‘Zachariah Dutton’ and ‘Stephen Penn’.

Advanced Search

The advanced search supports three types of searches, which can be used together for maximum precision.

Search Text

Three text fields are searchable: body text, subject, and sender. The same rules and capabilities listed above apply to searching each text field. Searching the body text by itself accomplishes the same result as using the basic search.

Date Range

There are three types of date searches supported: within date, after date, before date.

Within date finds messages with dates that are within the given date. You may search within a year, a year and month, or a year, month and day.

  • Giving a year of 1998 finds all messages that were posted during the year 1998.
  • Giving a year of 1998 and a month of Jun finds all messages that were posted during June 1998.
  • Giving a year of 1998, a month of Jun, and a day of 27 finds all messages posted on June 27, 1998.

After date and before date work in much the same way. A year only, a year and a month, or a year, month, and day may be entered. When used together, after date and before date can find messages that were posted within a range of dates.

  • Giving an after year of 1998 will return all messages posted after 1998 (i.e. in 1999).
  • Giving an after date of Aug 1998 will return all messages posted after August 1998 (i.e. from September 1998 onward).
  • Giving a before year of 1999 will return all messages posted before 1999 (i.e. in 1998).
  • Giving a before date of Feb 1999 will return all messages posted before February 1999 (i.e. January 1999 and earlier).
  • Giving an after date of Aug 27 1998 and a before date of Feb 21 1999 will return all messages posted between the dates of August 27, 1998 and February 21, 1999.

Return Order

The return order field controls what order the search results are sorted in. It
presently supports sorting by date (the default), subject (useful for following threads), and
sender (useful for finding messages from a certain person).

Combined Search Examples

Here are some examples of using the advanced search options together:

  • Searching body text for "Alexander Dutton" and within date for Jun 1999 will return messages which mention Alexander Dutton that were posted in June 1999.
  • Searching subject for Zachariah and sender for Richardson will return all messages posted by me that contain the word ‘Zachariah’ in the subject.
  • Searching body text for Dutton Penn, after date for Jul 20 1998, and before date for Aug 10 1998 will return all messages containing the words ‘Dutton’ and ‘Penn’ that were posted between July 20, 1998 and August 10, 1998

Bugs and Limitations

This is my first attempt at writing a database application for the Web. Although I have tested it, there are bound to be some bugs. If you ever get an error message, or if the search doesn’t do as you think it should, please e-mail me and let me know.

The search does have some limitations, caused in part by the way I have the database set up. I hope to improve these in the future. Most notably, the search can’t distinguish word boundaries — i.e. it can’t tell the difference between the words ‘Penn’ and ‘Pennsylvania’.

Search the Archive

Without further ado, I give you the DUTTON-Z Archive Search.

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