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Search anomalies - the problem runs deeper

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The problem of images not being returned in searches using valid keywords has been mentioned several times on this forum. I first complained to MS almost a year ago and got the standard response that it was an ongoing project attempting to exclude irrelevant results. Unfortunately, it was often omitting a whole mass of relevant images as well.

 

One notable issue was with shots of national parks and this, and other anomalies, did finally seem to have been resolved. However, it appears that any piecemeal fixes haven't actually resolved the problem.

 

Yesterday I wanted to check on some of my images of Redwood National Park in California. Because I didn't want shots of redwoods in other national parks, I did search for "Redwood National Park" using quotation marks. I was very surprised to find that no images were returned, as I know I have the keywords in that order in both the Caption and Essential fields.

 

Further investigation showed exactly the same problem with all other national parks, although I did occasionally get one or two inexplicable hits. The images did appear when not using quotes but, on a search of all of Alamy, they often appeared low down in the results.

 

Further investigation showed that if I searched, say, for "Yellowstone National Park" (with quotes), none of my shots appeared; for Yellowstone National Park (no quotes), I couldn't find any of my images in the first 10 pages (I then gave up); for National Park Yellowstone, I had multiple shots on the first page; likewise, just for Yellowstone.

 

What appears to be happening is that although images now appear in a search, many still aren't being recognised as having the keywords adjacent and in the correct order. What this means is that even in a search not using quotation marks, the images will appear way down the results because they're not perceived as relevant.

 

On the occasions where I've had a few images appear when using quotes eg "Yosemite National Park", I can't see any difference in the way I've used keywords compared to images which are excluded.

 

I haven't done any extensive testing with other keywords but did notice that there's the same problem with another case I pointed out to MS earlier in the year - namely "New York City".

 

I've contacted Member Services and am awaiting their reply.

 

Ian D

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As I'm sure you are aware Ian, I started a thread recently about this and also contacted MS.  The particular problems I reported seem to have been fixed but I found another one whilst going through measures last week.  I only had one image returned in a very large search when I know I should have had two images.  I checked the other image and it did have the necessary keyword so should have been returned. I know that is a very small sample so I didn't report it but it is still a 50% reduction and if that percentage is happing to other searched it is pretty serious.

 

Alamy say they are working on it but obviously it's still not resolved. They say the search results are now better because fewer irrelevant images are returned but that is easy to see.  It is less obvious that relevant images are not being returned unless you know how many there should be.

 

I for one put in a lot of thought and effort when keywording so it is very disappointing that this is happening.

 

Pearl

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+1

 

Thanks

Kumar

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Apologies if this has been noted in another thread but the New/Relevant/Creative tabs seem to be behaving differently.

 

Searching for "London" returns 30734 pages whether which ever option of New/Relevant/Creative is chosen. The sort order is different. I can understand this for New and Relevant however I always understood Creative to be a smaller subset of the entire library.

Edited by Armstrong

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Apologies if this has been noted in another thread but the New/Relevant/Creative tabs seem to be behaving differently.

 

Searching for "London" returns 30734 pages whether which ever option of New/Relevant/Creative is chosen. The sort order is different. I can understand this for New and Relevant however I always understood Relevant to be a smaller subset of the entire library.

Relevant was never a subset AFAIK, just a different sort order. It would make no sense to have a subset.

 

Pearl

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As I'm sure you are aware Ian, I started a thread recently about this and also contacted MS.  The particular problems I reported seem to have been fixed but I found another one whilst going through measures last week.  I only had one image returned in a very large search when I know I should have had two images.  I checked the other image and it did have the necessary keyword so should have been returned. I know that is a very small sample so I didn't report it but it is still a 50% reduction and if that percentage is happing to other searched it is pretty serious.

 

Alamy say they are working on it but obviously it's still not resolved. They say the search results are now better because fewer irrelevant images are returned but that is easy to see.  It is less obvious that relevant images are not being returned unless you know how many there should be.

 

I for one put in a lot of thought and effort when keywording so it is very disappointing that this is happening.

 

Pearl

I do, indeed, remember the thread, Pearl - something to do with "walking dog park uk", but I couldn't find it on the forum. (Edit: Before posting this, I just did a search for that word string and found the thread!)

 

As I said, the issue has been talked about a number of times and I started a topic myself earlier in the year. Clearly it's still going on, but what's more insidious about my latest findings is that it's not as immediately obvious unless you do a search in quotes. Moreover, even if a search is done without quotes, you might be puzzled as to why your images are appearing so far down in the results (if you'd normally expect to appear higher up).

 

What appears to be happening in the case you brought up (where images completely disappeared) and the behaviour I've noted, is that the search engine seems, rather inexplicably, to see some images as complying with a search term and not others. This is often split by photographer but in some cases it's by image. In the case of Yosemite National Park, there's absolutely no apparent reason why only 5 of my images should be returned for "Yosemite National Park" (in quotes) and not all the others. Moreover, it's those 5 rather mediocre shots which appear way ahead of all my other images in a search for Yosemite National Park (no quotes). I've used the words Yosemite National Park in the same place and in the same order in all the shots (without using quotes in the keywords).

 

The whole thing is still clearly a bit of a dog's dinner which has only had a rather small sticking plaster put on it (a rather unfortunate mix of metaphors!)

 

Ian D

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I'm waiting for them to resolve my third problem. I'm sure there are many, many more. I have found those while checking to see where images appear in searches. By the way, if you do find a problem and just think you may have missed something you can use Advanced Search to see if the images are really not showing.

 

Paulette

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Apologies if this has been noted in another thread but the New/Relevant/Creative tabs seem to be behaving differently.

 

Searching for "London" returns 30734 pages whether which ever option of New/Relevant/Creative is chosen. The sort order is different. I can understand this for New and Relevant however I always understood Creative to be a smaller subset of the entire library.

Relevant was never a subset AFAIK, just a different sort order. It would make no sense to have a subset.

 

Pearl

 

Apologies Pearl, My mistake. I meant creative should be a smaller subset.

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In the case of Yosemite National Park, there's absolutely no apparent reason why only 5 of my images should be returned for "Yosemite National Park" (in quotes) and not all the others. Moreover, it's those 5 rather mediocre shots which appear way ahead of all my other images in a search for Yosemite National Park (no quotes). I've used the words Yosemite National Park in the same place and in the same order in all the shots (without using quotes in the keywords).

 

Ian D

 

 

Could the fact that some photographers use , (commas) between their keywords / combination of keywords and others - like me - use just spaces to separate the keywords, play a role?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

I don't think so, Philippe. I did some experiments changing keywords on my "domestic cats" problem and one thing I did was to see what happened if I added commas. Nothing happened so that doesn't seem to be a factor.

 

Paulette

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Apologies if this has been noted in another thread but the New/Relevant/Creative tabs seem to be behaving differently.

 

Searching for "London" returns 30734 pages whether which ever option of New/Relevant/Creative is chosen. The sort order is different. I can understand this for New and Relevant however I always understood Creative to be a smaller subset of the entire library.

Relevant was never a subset AFAIK, just a different sort order. It would make no sense to have a subset.

 

Pearl

 

Apologies Pearl, My mistake. I meant creative should be a smaller subset.

 

No worries.  Creative should still return the same number of images however, just in a different order, now we can't see where the dividing line is.  But I understand what you mean.

 

Pearl

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In the case of Yosemite National Park, there's absolutely no apparent reason why only 5 of my images should be returned for "Yosemite National Park" (in quotes) and not all the others. Moreover, it's those 5 rather mediocre shots which appear way ahead of all my other images in a search for Yosemite National Park (no quotes). I've used the words Yosemite National Park in the same place and in the same order in all the shots (without using quotes in the keywords).

Ian D

 

 

Could the fact that some photographers use , (commas) between their keywords / combination of keywords and others - like me - use just spaces to separate the keywords, play a role?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

No, Philippe. I don't think so. You can tell when someone's used a comma, quotes or other separator because the words are grouped together in the visible keywords field (on the zoom page). Moreover, as I said, it's happening on similar shots of mine using an identical keywording procedure.

 

Regarding your own images, I notice that you've got no chance of being seen if someone searches for Rocky Mountain National Park (way down the pack - couldn't find you at all) and for "Rocky Mountain National Park", you have no images showing! However, for National Park Rocky Mountain, you do start appearing on p2.

 

Ian D

 

Edit. Paulette replied whilst I was typing!

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As mentioned in the previous thread - there have been many changes that result in a major benefit in the search results. The benefits far outweigh the negatives at this point even though there are some anomalies that we're working on.

 

Having multiple threads about this is not ideal so we will be closing this now and pointing you towards the original thread:

 

http://discussion.alamy.com/index.php?/topic/4863-search-engine-still-broken/

 

Thanks

 

Alamy

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