User talk:SunnyCA

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Searching - reference materials

Sunny, I revised my post regarding the search. After reading it again, I realized it didn't "sound" very nice. I'm sorry about that. Natalie 02:30, 12 April 2008 (CDT)Natalie

Searching on TaxAlmanac

Hi, Linda, I was leaving a message for Tim Doyle tonight and noticed your feedback on searching. I agree that the TaxAlmanac search engine doesn't always act the way you'd expect, or deliver the results you'd expect. There are a few things that you can do to improve your search results (I'll put a link to the hints or tips at the end of this note), but since the search works by looking for the terms you've entered and matching them to the same terms in the discussions and articles, the problem you mentioned will always be present.

From the way you worded your example, I wonder if you might be interested in the Topical_Index. This lists 16 primary tax topics (like Income, Foreign, Retirement, etc.) and lets you drill down through various subtopics within those 16 topics. Clicking on a subtopic brings up discussions that have been categorized into that subtopic. This lets you search - or really browse - more generally, without knowing when you start what you really want.

The downside of the Topical Index is that it relies on discussions having been categorized, and the person who was doing most of the categorizing, Deback, hasn't had much time to do it lately, and nobody else has really stepped in to take over. So you'll mainly see older discussions. However, even if you can't get your answer that way, maybe you'll be able to use those old discussions to come up with search terms/phrases to use in the yellow search box, which might lead to newer discussions that are more on point. The topical index is just a different way to get around the site, and I imagine few people take advantage of it.

A second thing that comes to mind is that searching on "overseas income" in quotes will provide more limited results that searching on those two words without the quotes. Not sure if you did both, and even if you did I'd guess that you probably got way too many results without the quotes, so for your specific example that might not be such a helpful suggestion (but I offer it just in case it helps in the future!).

Here's the link to the Hints and Tips on How to Search on TaxAlmanac page I mentioned above, and also, if you click on "advanced search" just above the yellow box at the left side of the screen, there's a place where you can search the site using Google - so if you're better at Google searching than at using the TA search engine - and who isn't really - that might be another thing to try.

Please let me know if you have other questions once you've checked out the Topical Index, and also if you have suggestions on how we might make that Index page more useful for people like you, who come in wanting to find info but aren't really sure where to start, I'd love to have them - you can post them to the Feedback page, or leave a note on my talk page if you'd rather not be so public.

Trillium 20:20, 7 September 2009 (CDT)

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