Canberra Bird Notes - new search facility

To: 'Martin Butterfield' <>
Subject: Canberra Bird Notes - new search facility
From: Julian Robinson <>
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2018 05:26:41 +0000

Martin – the Bush Heritage entry is an advert – the price we pay for using a free service like google.  Notice the not-so-helpful green ‘Ad’ notification to the left of the link.  I like to imagine the google computers (“brain the size of a planet”) struggling to work out what might be a relevant advert to go with a search for whistling duck.  Bush Heritage is actually not a bad attempt.  At least we haven’t so far seen ads for ebay … “Buy “Whistling Ducks” on ebay”, though I suppose it’s only a matter of time.


Excluding ABR’s is a good idea as long as we don’t want to actually search an ABR at any stage. 





From: Martin Butterfield [
Sent: Monday, 5 March 2018 5:50 AM
To: Julian Robinson
Cc: canberrabirds chatline
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Canberra Bird Notes - new search facility


Well done Julian: I just tried it and it works pretty well.


A couple of comments:

  • I got a listing for Bush heritage included in my selection (searching for "whistling duck") see below.  Que?;

·                  Could/Should the search be restricted to exclude the Annual Bird Reports?  For more regularly reported species that will add about 40 

unwanted entries to the list.


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On 4 March 2018 at 22:14, Julian Robinson <> wrote:

It is now possible to search the entire CBN archive via a search box found at the top of the CBN website page – go to > Publications > Canberra Bird Notes.


This is a beta version, meaning it is still being perfected.  To use it, enter your search term in the box and click the magnifying glass.  You will get a page of results, sometimes many results.  They don’t appear in any order so be guided by the date and/or the issue number (at the end of the green link). 


When you click one of the results you’ll download that whole issue of CBN.  Your search term is NOT highlighted in the resulting document so you need to search again within the document  – Control-f in windows to ‘find’ and insert the same search term.


It seems to work well but is completely reliant on the cleverness of your search words to avoid getting thousands of results or none at all.  Sometimes using apostrophes “like this” around your words helps by restricting to that exact phrase, but be aware that then it will not find plurals or other parts of speech.  You’d need to search for “Fuscous honeyeater” and again for “fuscous honeyeaters” to get them all.  On the other hand if you search for Fuscous honeyeater without quotes, it will find honeyeater or honeyeaters but may return items that just contain one of the words.  A technique to find ‘serious’ mentions of a particular bird is to use the scientific name – this generally works well without false alarms.


The older editions of CBN were scanned from paper copies and used OCR (optical character recognition) to read the text.  Errors in the OCR process (commonly where words are concatenated or misspelled) mean that sometimes you may miss an occurrence of something you are looking for.  Unfortunately this will be permanent limitation, though it seems to be quite rare.


You may be asked to prove you’re not a robot at various times, be prepared to do what it asks and then “submit”.


As mentioned this is a work in progress and not all issues of CBN have yet been indexed by google – at the time of writing 108 of 188 have been indexed. 


I would appreciate comments on any problems encountered, or any suggestions.


This has been a long time coming – hopefully it will prove to be useful.



Cog website




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