Searching for Someone

18 Feb 2015

Who else loves the Google Doodles? I really enjoy how whimsical and fun they are, but, at the same time, always find myself reading up a little bit about the person or event that inspired them. I don’t know if Google intended it, but I think their daily Doodles are the perfect example of that very difficult mix of fun and educational.

Today’s Doodle was a celebration of the 270th birthday of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery (to paraphrase and simplify a lifelong contribution to the fields of both physics and chemistry according to Google).

I have to confess that my inspiration for my blog post today came not from the Doodle itself, but rather from my colleague’s thinking-out-loud question of “Who was Alessandro Volta?” just as she clicked on the Doodle to find out. Remembering a documentary I had seen recently, I chimed in with “discoverer of the volt” – another unjust oversimplification. But it got me thinking about searching for information.

Let’s say that you were trying to find out who had devised a method for measuring electric current, i.e. the volt. Maybe you have a whole OpenCRM system devoted to famous scientists. By using our Global Search (left hand sidebar), you could just type in the word “volt” and it would bring up Alessandro Volta.

This is because, like all searches in our system, the Global Search is a string search, which means that it takes a group of letters you’ve just typed in and returns any matches to them.

So, for a more practical example, let’s say you need to speak to one of your Contacts by the name of Jeremy Smyth but you can’t remember off the top of your head if he is a “Smith” or a “Smyth.”

But it doesn’t matter, because you can use our string searches. You navigate over to your Contacts module and type “Jere” in the first name box and “Sm%th” in the last name box (the “%” gives you a wildcard—i.e. any letter). This returns all of your Jeremy’s, Jeremiah’s, and Jerett’s with the surname Smith, Smyth, Hammersmith, etc.

I can’t imagine you have a lot of Jeremiah Hammersmith’s in your system, but even so, you’ll be given a short list from which you can now click on the Jeremy Smyth you need to call.