If you’ve added metadata fields to your documents, rejoice: now you can search them!
I’ll set metadata on two documents for a quick demonstration:
Now, I can search these new fields by prepending [Field Name]: to the search:
Here are the subtle rules. Consider them an addendum to our previous search syntax blog post:
Date:2015-11-08 will match all documents containing the phrase “2015-11-08” in the “Date” field (assuming you created a “Date” field).
date:2015-11-08 will not match any documents in this example. (Field names are case-sensitive.)
"Full Name":John Smith lets you specify a field name with spaces. (Field names with spaces or parentheses must be quoted.)
Author:Adam H* will search for any phrase starting with “Adam H” in the “Author” field. (All usual search syntax works on metadata fields.)
Be wary when your field names clash with Overview’s built-in names. text:Overview and title:Overview continue to search the actual documents’ texts and titles, not any “text” or “title” metadata fields you may have added. If you have a metadata field named “text“, you can force a metadata search by quoting the field name: for instance, "text":Overview.
We search all metadata the same way we search document text: we ignore punctuation and we don’t allow comparisons such as, “search for all documents with a Date within the past year”.
Now you can add custom fields to all documents at once while you’re importing. You can use this make some other notes about this batch of documents, such as tracking the source of each document in your set.
I’ll walk you through it.
Fields — or document metadata — are a great feature, and hopefully this makes them a little more useful.
We’ve added a new feature into Overview: Optical Character Recognition (OCR). That means you can upload scanned PDFs and Overview will automatically read the text from them.
Overview decides when to use OCR automatically, on every page that has fewer than 100 characters of searchable text. This will make your uploads a lot slower, but you will need to OCR them anyway before you can search them, and you can’t beat the convenience.
Overview uses Tesseract for OCR, because Tesseract is free. Sometimes Tesseract produces more garbage characters than other OCR engines, such as the one included in Adobe Acrobat Pro. If you’ve already OCR’d your documents using another program, Overview will just read the previously created text.
All your fields will appear as new columns when you export a spreadsheet:
The “fields” feature is new. We know there’s plenty of pizzazz to add:
Right now, we only support single-line text fields: no dates, numbers, geo-coordinates, or so forth. As a workaround, format your text values carefully (e.g., use YYYY-MM-DD for dates) so your spreadsheet program can grok them.
Overview’s search feature doesn’t examine field values.
You cannot create fields or write to fields using the API. (You can read field values with the API, though: they’re in document.metadata.)
You can only set metadata on one document at a time.
Overview supports phrase searches, fuzzy searches, and booleans. Here’s what you can search for in the search box and the Multi-Search plugin:
John Smith: All documents containing the phrase “John Smith“. All the words, in order.
Pizza~: All documents matching the word “Pizza” or similar words such as “Piazza” or “Pizzas“. (“~” after a single word means fuzzy search. It can find documents that contain typos.)
John Smith AND Alice Smith: All documents containing both the phrase “John Smith” and the phrase “Alice Smith“. (“AND” means both phrases must appear.)
John Smith OR Alice Smith: All documents containing either the phrase “John Smith” or the phrase “Alice Smith” Or both phrases. (“OR” means any phrase must appear.)
John Smith AND NOT Alice Smith: All documents containing the phrase “John Smith” and not the phrase “Alice Smith“. (“NOT” means the phrase must not appear.)
Alice AND NOT (Bob OR Carol): All documents containing the phrase “Alice” and neither the phrase “Bob” nor the phrase “Carol“. (Parentheses help organize complicated queries.)
"John and Alice Smith": All documents containing the phrase “John and Alice Smith“. (Without quotation marks, it would have been interpreted as “(John) AND (Alice Smith)“. Quotation marks tell Overview to ignore operators such as AND, OR and NOT. You can use quotation marks or apostrophes.)
John Smith~2: All documents matching the phrase “John Smith” or phrases with the words John and Smith at most 2 words apart, such as “John 'The Culprit' Smith“. (“~N” after a multi-word phrase means proximity search.)
Smith*: All documents containing a word that begins with “Smith“, such as “Smith“, “Smithy” or “Smithsonian“. (“*” after a phrase means prefix search.)
title:John Smith: All documents containing the phrase “John Smith” in their titles. The other way around is text:John Smith. By default, Overview searches both the title and the text.
In the coming months, we’ll be sitting with users to see how this new query language works for them. If you have any feedback about a particular query, please use the “Talk to Us” link at the top of Overview.