"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

October 15, 2007

Now Available: Searching The City of Northampton's Full Website.

The City of Northampton's website is a great resource made available to residents of town and anyone else who might be interested. Along with the code book for the City that is made available in electronic form, it's possible with both of those resources to find much of the information you are looking for. Inexplicably however, there are no search capabilities on the City of Northampton's website. So while at the site, if you wanted to search for relevant material on 'Pulaski Park' for instance, or 'Hilton Hotel' you would not be able to. You could look thru each page for each department on the site, but that proves very awkward and confusing. You could also just use a regular google search, adding Northamptonma.gov for instance, to your query. Again, for those lacking the know how or interest in using google in very targeted ways, the results can be very hard to parse.

That is now a thing of the past. With a wave of the magic wand that I borrowed from a friend and never returned, I have created a custom search engine that will allow anyone to search the full City of Northampton website. Google allows anyone to build such a search engine, creating a targeted search engine to the specifications you choose. For the one I created, I simply included the full site of http://www.northamptonma.gov, and all the pages within, to show in any search results of your query. I hope to build another one soon featuring a targeted search of the local media in town.

With this new search engine, it is now much easier and efficient to search for the relevant material you are looking for on the City of Northampton's website. For instance, using the search engine to look for information on Pulaski Park for instance, would bring up the following five pages of results from the City's website. Once at the page of results, you can refine your search via the labels that are included. Google allows you to add labels to any search engine you create, and the following ones were added to the search engine for the City of Northampton's website; "Minutes, Plans, Ordinance, Meeting, Code, Regulation, Permit, Committee" You can see this in the screen grab to the right, noted with the red box. When you search and get results, those labels will appear immediately above the results. By clicking on one of the labels, you can refine the original results you achieved even further.

The City of Northampton's website now comes in a new, and improved, searchable form. Have fun, and please spread it around.

This has been a public service message brought to you buy Northamptonist.


LABELS: city government, public policy, notable news

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