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Hey, this synecdochical thinghy is an old method, I know, but I try to systematize it somehow... and
this will have the added advantage of letting some readers discover
the world of Haiku :-)
Synecdoche ("sin-EK-doh-kee") is the rhetorical or metaphorical
substitution of a part for the whole, or vice versa. This approach is widely used in searching,
because it allows you to get at your signal 'from the bottom', eliminating part
of the noise. Synecdoche is a Greek, Latin (and at the same time English) term.
You may peruse some linguistic variants of the term @ OED.
The 'Moundarren' field case
Speaking on a messageboard about haiku (maybe the supreme achievement of zen culture)
a friend to check the books of a French editor: Moundarren.
Shortly afterwards I did myself a search for
Moundarren on the main search engines, and
revealed a cluster of sites -mostly French, but not only - dealing with zen, haiku, and more generally with
Chinese and Japanese poetry. It is what I call an 'arrow' or a 'clean cut' for my target.
Let's define as
any search query that allows you to 'cut' through commercial crap and get
a 'useful' or 'promising'
cluster of sites that provides REALLY some useful knowledge (or further pointers).
No other common denominator would have connected those specific sites, nor was the term
Moundarren a term that those sites had ever used purposedly in order to "qualify" themselves (as opposed to
'haiku' or 'French Publications on Zen').
Hence the use of 'Moundarren' as searching term automatically dug out (mined) a cluster of
very specialized pages 'from the bottom'.
This kind of 'synecdochical' approach is of course already well known among seekers, but, as
far as I am aware, it has never been
From the example above we can immediately derive some possible pointers, i.e. searching
suggestions. More arrows for our search-quiver. I have decided
to call 'horizontal' all pointers that exploit the same 'plane' of approach (that
in our case was an editor / publisher, but that could of course be anything you can
devise for your own queries) and 'vertical' those pointers that
move to other 'query planes' while still aiming at the same target signal.
- an horizontal, "regional", longitude:
there must exist at least some other regional equivalent for non french clusters
(the best german, uk, usa, italian, spanish specialized editors)
another horizontal, "regional", longitude:
there may exist at least some other regional equivalent for clusters in the SAME area (in this case french)
q=%28%22publications+orientales%22+OR+pof%29+AND+haiku (publications orientales de France)
another horizontal "thematical" longitude:
if we arrive to identify the japanese editor of choice (even without knowing japanese),
we can hit a bingo unifying different regional clusters!
Kodansha International haiku
a vertical, "thematical", latitude:
there must be OTHER 'uncommon' search terms that would deliver similar clusters
One of the problem here is the definition of 'uncommon'. Clearly many of the
sites you dug out through 'Izumi-shikibu' would have emerged from the noise using
any other famous haiku poets' name like 'Shiki',
'Santoka' or '
(or -also- all
three together... eheh). It is in this difficult field: determining WHAT is 'uncommon',
than anywhere else, where amateur searchers make most mistakes. A deep knowledge
of the subject you are targeting would of course help, and the more you search
a specific subject / thread, the more you're likely to dig out pointed arrows to
cut your own private tunnel 'under the commercial noise' towards your signal. Yet experienced seekers will also be able to
'improvise' after a 5 minutes broad search on ANY subject. After having read this
text all readers may try their own searches for Haiku (without using the pointers
I have given) and be amazed at the variety of results.
a vertical, "syntactical", latitude:
Note the diaeresis in the word haïku here,
reflecting the French way of calling Haiku, e.g. with this search: q=ha%EFku
we will still remain 'inside the francophonie' (we landed here with
the French arrow 'Moundarren' to start with, remember?)
and yet change completely the targeted clusters...
Nota bene this %EF code in the query corresponds to the
ASCII CODE of ï (it's the hexadecimal value for 239... the more you understand
assembly the better you can search the web :-)
You'll find all the very useful ASCII codes at http://www.searchlores.org/ascii.txt.
Using such characters in your queries you will 'cut the noise' quite considerably.
But it is not only a matter of fancy characters.
transliteration of your arrows
Unfortunately - given the euroamerican
predominance in the development of the web -
for many languages this is still often realized through images :-(
Let's make a different example for our 'vertical syntactical approach': let's take the wondrous Basho
once again. Let's search for
(another way to write the name Basho).
This of course re-state, once more the immense importance of names on
the main vertical, "metonymical", latitude:
Note that all the following arrows can be quickly found on the clusters you started with:
(a poetic form that requires 31 onji, and is divided into 5 lines of 5-7-5-7-7 onji each);
waka (too much noise, throw away this broken arrow, else
you'll need something like +waka +31 -indonesia -bali to shoot with, 31 being the syllabes
of a waka);
haiku. This search was on
wisenut, I'm using google elsewhere just for the examples, but you should
ALWAYS try more than one main search engine, duh);
(colloquial in style, concerned with more mundane topics than haiku. Note that you could have a special
syntactical arrow here with senry%FB = senryû, see the previous
(combining Prosa and haiku / senryû);
kigo (the 'season word' there are thousands kigo
whose connection to a particular season is relatively arbitrary);
kire-ji OR kireji
(a kireji pauses the reader, like punctuation in english);
our 'poetry environment' and cuts into a new 'pictorial' environment).
the vertical, "peristasical", latitude:
Now 'the whole for the part': this is the oldest synecdochical trick of the bag, but it works wonders and deserves a specific name.
To apply it here, we will use some complete
haiku lines as 'bait' in order to fish target clusters!
Have a look:
"a crow perches" "autumn twilight", or even better
"karasu-no tomari-keri" which is the japanese
for "a crow perches" and will deliver you a wealth of different translations into english (and other languages
Simple name/surname peristasis for Basho:
and for Issa (thanks Jeff):
"Kobayashi Issa", or also:
"Yosa Buson" and, more
specialized, "Taniguchi Buson".
Yet this 'peristasical' approach SHOULD NOT be limited to names!
Dates or specific characteristics of your targets
can be of great help as well:
Peristasis works always. It is in my opinion most useful for text searching.
The quantity of crap sites that speak about Authors but DO NOT HAVE THE COMPLETE
TEXT (that you are looking for) can be at once 'undercut' with medium-long text strings.
Let's say you want to find
the text of an old song from Donovan... You could of
course use the simple string +donovan +"little pebble",
but you would probably find better results with the string
"Thought is like a little boat upon the sea" which is
part of the song you are looking for and that you casually remember.
Similarly: you want to find Tolkien on
the web? You shoot a long string arrow! "taking his axe the dwarf now cut several branches.".
Where is the 'Edictus Rothari' on the web?
"omnes liberti, qui a dominis suis langobardis libertatem meruerint" and so on and so on.
|Let's try to
explain my synecdochical approach visually|
(It would be a good idea
to press your keyboard's 'f11' key right now :-)
The red cylinder below represents the TOTALITY of accessible web sites that
could be of interest to you in the context of your current search, the small
rings depict four different specific clusters of interesting sites.
Please remember that inside the cylinder the 'void' is only APPARENT!
That's the part
of the internet you cannot reach through the main search engines. There are interesting sites
there as well (as a matter of fact MUCH more than on the 'accessible' outside), but to grab them you'll have to use
more advanced techniques than commercial engines :-)
1 You land first time to an interesting cluster of sites trough your 'clean cut'
2 You have 'synecdochically' moved horizontally, modifying your original clean-cut
3 These sites will be relatively easy to find, they are both on an horizontal and on a
vertical synecdoche. Note that the signal width of the vertical synecdoches
(e.g. the yellow one on the right side of the image) may vary quite a lot,
while horizontal synecdoches' width seems more costant.
4 You'll never find this cluster
with your current synecdochical approaches, you'll have to
devise a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT cut.
To conclude: In rhetoric a synecdoche
may take two colors:
genus-species or part-whole. In
searching it may
appear either as a 'whole' (upper) category, that
encompasses your original arrow in a more global concept, or - conversely -
as a 'part' (lower) hyperspecialized term, that will allow you
to collect more specific clusters. In both cases you may mowe either
horizontally, remaining on the same plane of approach, yet changing your
'angle' of attack, or you may move
vertically, changing plane and angle of attack, while still
aiming at the same target.
The synecdochical searching method is thus not rigid nor
precisely quantifiable in all its vertical and horizontal marges,
but probably best viewed as a 'continuum' whereby the
part-whole or species-genus
synecdoche is "simpler"... That is 'apprehensible with less prior
knowledge of the quarry'; whereas the genus-species
(or class-member) synecdoche is consequently "more
complex" since it relies on more knowledge of your target and its 'habitat'
on the web. Anyway keep
in mind our seekers' motto: "Non refert quam multos sitos, sed quam bonos invenias"
|December 2001: in fieri, I doubt I'll ever finish this lore... in the meantime
your search bows have acquired some extra strings, and you may even
enjoy some Haiku...|| ||
The web site you seek
cannot be located, but
countless more exist
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