PubCrawler Info: Importance of Aliases

When setting up queries for your PubCrawler profile, you should always specify an alias. This can consist of one or more words and should briefly describe your query.

The advantages of this are as follows:

Prevent Database Reinitialization

PubCrawler keeps track of documents that you have seen already by storing their ID number in so called hash tables. The key to the tables is the alias of the corresponding query. If no alias is provided the query itself makes up the key. In the latter case a change of your query has a disastrous effect on your database entry. When PubCrawler looks up its hash table to check for former hits, it won't find any because the key didn't exist previously. So all hits will be treated as new and you will probably find a lot of documents that you have seen before.
In contrary, if you change an aliased query, PubCrawler will be able to compare former hits with new ones and filter out documents that you have seen already.

Provide Descriptive Index

The former paragraph hopefully shows you the importance of an alias and explains why we are enforcing the use of it by filling in the according field with a dummy (GenBank alias 1 or PubMed alias 1, etc.). You should nevertheless replace these with a term that briefly describes your query. This will make the index on top of your results page much more informative. Compare for example the following two indices:

Index with dummy aliases:


Index with descriptive aliases:

The benefit of using descriptive aliases should be obvious from the above examples: You can see immediately from the index in which research area you got new hits.

NOTE: Changing your alias will have the same effect as described earlier on: It will lead to a reinitialization of your database entry of former hits for that according query! So please start using an appropriate alias when creating your query.




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Last modified at $Date: 1999/06/14 18:05:05 $