Advanced search now done

April 15, 2007

The advanced search feature is all done now, and a whole host of new features that went into it, are available now. This blog entry will go over them all.

The inventory page now has a “search this inventory” feature, which looks for books in the current user’s inventory (very useful for users that have hundreds of books in their inventory):

The wishlist page now lets you search for books in that wishlist, as well as searching all wishlists.

The really messy and complicated options that used to appear the bottom of every search result page and look like this:
have all been removed, and all the same options are now available in a clearer form in the advanced search page, and an advanced search button appears on the top right of all search results:
The advanced search form is automatically pre-filled with the values from the current search, so it’s easy to repeat the previous search and modify things slightly. This is especially convenient when you’ve done an advanced search from a “search this topic” page, or some other page where advanced search was automatically used, because you can see how the advanced search features were used in that search, and modify them slightly to your needs.

The advanced search page lets you only show books that are available from your country or from a specific country. This is very handy for people outside the USA who want to see what books are available in their country.


For example, if you’re looking for a book that has many different editions, available all over the world, you can limit the search results to just editions that you can mooch from your country. An example might be if you were looking for an edition of Shakespeare’s MacBeth from the UK.

Recently added books: you can limit the search results to only books that have been made recently available on BookMooch. This is useful if you want to see what books are now available by an author, and only want to see books that were added to BookMooch since you last checked.


Note that when a 2nd copy of a book is made available on BookMooch, the date of the new copy is the one that is considered. This is by design: there may be pre-existing moochable copies of a book that you don’t want to get, perhaps because they’re in another country or the condition is poor. This lets you notice when another copy of that book becomes available.

This advanced search example will find books authored by Shakespeare, available only in the UK, that were added in the past 10 days.

as part of this new search feature, a new piece of information now appears on the book details page, showing the date when the most recent copy of this book was made available on BookMooch. The information is displayed with a “Since:” label:

I don’t like the descriptive label “Since”, as it doesn’t really describe what this date actually is. I thought about “Date added” but that sounds like when the book was first added to BookMooch. I’d appreciate suggestions on a better label for this information.

You can now specify a date range that the books in the search results needed to be published by. This can quite handy if you are a fan of old editions, such as pre-1950 editions of books by John Milton. In general, I was quite surprised how many antiquarian books are available on BookMooch. There was a 1908 edition of a Room With a View available until a few days ago. Wow!

I also use this feature to find recent editions of translated works, because I tend to prefer recent translations. For example, works of Immanuel Kant published after 2000.


You can specify members that you want to search. Normally, you would only specify one name, but you can specify several names if you like, on name per line.

For example, this search searches my inventory for books by Bill Griffith.


this is actually exactly what the “search this inventory” field does for you, and this search has the same effect:


You can search wishlists, inventory, or all books that BookMooch has in its database using this new option in advanced search. Previously, you could only search available books (i.e. books in someone’s inventory).


The pages showing regions in France, Towns in the UK, and areas in the USA give you a simple search bar to search directly in that country. This allows you to avoid having to use the advanced search form and is easy to use.


When browsing books in a language, there now is a pre-filled search bar to search for books published in that language, thus no need to use the advanced search form to do this common task.


When browsing books in a country, there now is a pre-filled search bar to search for books available in that country, thus no need to use the advanced search form to do this common task.


Three small other changes were made:

  • the bio page no longer lists 10 books from your inventory, since this was not very helpful and made the page busier
  • the member main menu no longer shows your postal address, as this didn’t seem all that relevant and made the page a lot busier. You can see your postal address by clicking on your user name on the member main menu, which brings up your profile.
  • the bio page now links your country of residence to a page listing people in that country (though there seems to be a bug here with the USA, which shows no users, while other countries seem to work fine– I’ll have to fix this)

    I’m going to take a few days off now, as I’ve been working very long hours for about 3 weeks to get all these search features done, and my body needs a rest.


  • 7 Responses to “Advanced search now done”

    1. Yaffa said

      Thanks for the great blog entry detailing the features. Instead of your troublesome “Since” maybe “As of” or “Most recently on”

      Thanks for the great stuff!

    2. LauraTS said

      Wow, John. Thanks for all of these features, especially the search inventory and search wishlist abilities.

    3. StefanoC said

      I wonder if it would be easy to introduce world regions (North America, Europe, etc.) to the countries selections.

      I know this makes sense mostly for Europeans (eg. German-speaking people looking in Germany, Austria and Swiss), but also Americans may want to see if the books they look for are available in Canada too (since shipping times are probably the same as within the USA).

    4. StefanoC said

      oops, that was Switzerland…

      Also English books from UK and Ireland, French from France and Switzerland, etc.

    5. kerrihicks said

      How about instead of “Since”, use “Added to inventory”? It’s longer by a bit, but perfectly clear.

    6. Maybe I missed something, but I would find the advanced search option more useful if you DIDN’T have to enter an actual search word.

      What I want to be able to do is search for the most recent books made available for mooching by TOPIC. For example, “Science” books posted in the last 5 days. (Not just the ones with the word “Science” somewhere!)

    7. Lili said

      Would it be possible to change it so that instead of having one choice only for “Words appear in”, that it could be a selection available in tick boxes instead? For instance, I frequently want to search for a term in Topic and Description, but not Title or Author. As the search is now, I can choose just one of those options or I have to choose them all. It would be nice to be able to select the all of the ones I want and not the ones I don’t want.

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