Sunday, December 30, 2007

Quickly searching online references using a browser add-on

Today, I'd like to tell you about a nifty add-on that helps you search various references such as Honyaku, Goo, Life Science Dictionary, and so on. This add-on is Needlesearch – download it and install it as an add-on to Firefox. The latest version is 3.2. The Needlesearch toolbar will be installed on your browser and it looks like this:


The image above shows that Honyaku is the online reference you will search, 検索 is the term you are searching for and the four icons to the right are the Needlesearch icons, details of which you can read in the Needlesearch help online.

The concept here is that you add as many online references you like, then copy and paste the term you wish to search and hit the Enter key. Needlesearch will search through, say the Honyaku archives, and give you all the hits and highlight them for you – you need not go to the Honyaku archive website.

Here is a screenshot of a search and hits for the term 環境 in Honyaku.

The method of adding search engines (references you need to search) is explained here. Adding English search engines is a fairly easy task; searching for Japanese is a little more complicated since you may need to add encoding details too (UTF_8, shift_jis, euc). You need to experiment with the settings.

I have given below the settings for Honyaku, Goo and Life Science Dictionary here; just open the Needlesearch Editor and enter the details in Properties; you should be able to make a start with these three references. I have yet to experiment on others such as Eijiro, and will put up the same in this blog in the near future. In the meanwhile, if you do experiment and are successful with the settings, you can post them here as comments for the benefit of others reading this blog.

After you install Needlesearch, click the Editor Icon, Add Item, then the Properties button while New Item is selected, and enter the details exactly as below ( except the name, which you may change as you like). Here are the settings (you may leave other fields blank):

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Enter Name: Honyaku

Enter Search url: http://honyaku-archive.org/search/?q=needlesearch

Encoding: UTF_8

Method: get

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Enter Name: Goo

Enter Search url: http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/freewordsearcher.html?search_history=&MT=Needlesearch&kind=&kwassist=0&mode=0&dictionary=%BC%AD%BD%F1%B8%A1%BA%F7&id=top&kind=all

Encoding: shift_jis

Method: get

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Enter Name: Life Science Dictionary

Enter Search url: http://lsd.pharm.kyoto-u.ac.jp/cgi-bin/lsdproj/ejlookup04.pl?lang=Japanese&query=Needlesearch&mode=begin+with&case=insensitive&max=50&inflect=Ignore&romaji=no

Encoding: shift_jis

Method: post

If you check the box next to the Default setting, the checked reference will appear as the default engine when you open the browser. Enjoy!

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