Message Number: SG18170 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2006-08-31 17:37:51 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] How to use archives

Often I look things up for people, but at times my eyes or the time needs of my off-list life don't cooperate. Knowing how to search and where to search can only help.

There are three ferret list archives I regularly use:

In the FHL Archives kindly provided by FHL Co-moderator, Pam Sessoms (There are 5 of us co-moderators.) and her husband, Eric Sessoms, notice that you can either search or you can browse. Try a bit of each to notice that you can be helped by either, depending on your needs at the time.

At the top notice:


This searchable database contains the complete archive of the Ferret Health List, formerly hosted at YahooGroups, as well as the messages from its current home at Smartgroups. Smartgroups messages are updated daily. The search engine uses Boolean Logic (and, or, not). "Words inside quotation marks" will be treated as an exact phrase. Boolean and is implied where there are adjacent words with no quotation marks.
About substrings: Substrings are simply parts of words. Using substrings can be helpful for broadening a search. For example, lympho is a substring for lymphoma, lymphosarcoma, lymphocytes. Similarly, searching for diabet will return messages mentioning either diabetes or diabetic. Simple plurals are handled automatically and do not require substring searching (leg will also find legs).


Let's say that you decide to search for post that contain BOTH Epogen and Lupron. In that case the content you are looking for will be

Epogen and Lupron

Okay, let's say that instead you also want posts that might mention only one of those. Then you will search for posts that contain

Epogen or Lupron

Going further, let's say that you just found that you want to search on Epogen but you do not want posts that contain the word Lupron, then you will be looking for posts that contain

Epogen not Lupron

There are three boxes into which you can put what you are seeking.

The first says "Search message body for" and that looks at the content to give you your search results. Notice that you can even search for a specific phrase if you just put it inside quote marks. Example:

"estrogen precursors"

will bring up only posts containing that phrase.

Okay, play with those sorts of examples given above. Don't worry. It's easy and safe and you don't have to worry about refining your search yet by filling in other boxes. Most of the times when I search I wind up searching only on content. Sometimes I narrow a search more by also looking for posts from a specific address. It is not often that I use the box covering subject line, but when needed that is incredibly useful.

Notice that the search boxes show next to them how some examples for searching can be written.

Look at what you find and try refining your search by using multiple boxes. It is safe and it is easy. All that it takes is a little practice, and it doesn't even take much of that because it is so easy to use. Not only does it not bite you, but it rewards you with the data you need once you get used to using it.

Okay, let's look at the FML archives which contains a lot of behavioral stuff to help members. Although it looks different this is actually a very similar construction.

The FML Archives can be found at

Notice that you can browse by choosing a month, or you can select the top line which says

Search the Archives

Click that open.

Often I look things up for people, but at times my eyes or the time needs of my off-list life don't cooperate. Knowing how to search and where to search can only help.

Notice that there is a difference in how to specify a phrase. This engine used parentheses marks around a phrase instead of quote marks so instead of "lucky ferret" you would write (lucky ferret).

Because there are so many years of FMLs in the archives (14 years because the earliest FMLs were never entered, but can be gotten a different way, though without searching) the FML search engine also lets a person narrow the time frame.

Examples at the FML Archives illustrate how to write things

Okay, let's search for


from Jan 2000 - June 2006

There are 7 results. Below the results a brief quote from each post appears, most recent first.

If you were to search in something with more results you would notice a click on phrase to bring up further results.

Mostly, even though it looks different it is like the FML Archives in terms of what you need to do to get it to work well for you.


has the standard Yahoo list search capability. Instead of brain power to refine a search by selecting your words to be searched upon most effectively this one will require some time on your part because once you put what you are searching for in the list search box (instead of the web search box) you will need to keep clicking to the next earlier page till you find what you are seeking.

As you see, using archives is actually easy. All that it takes is a little practice, a bit of time, and reasonable vision. (If you do not have reasonable vision find out how your own browser allows words to be enlarged -- sadly not an option for all sites or all pdfs, either.) Mine uses the apple/ clover leaf key plus + to do that. Also check your broswer's view menu for instructions. If your vision is very bad you may need someone to get it going or to initially transcribe the instructions for you. Sadly, most instructions themselves on how to enlarge things are usually in small print which is just plain stupid -- kind of like back when literacy classes used to be advertised in print media instead of by radio or television.

(BTW, When you use some other search engines, like or at Pubmed, you will also find that at times you will want to search using apostophies around a word instead of quote marks or parentheses, for example: 'lucky ferret' or will want to use + before a word to mean "and" such as lucky +ferret, or minus to exclude a word such as ferret -albino, even lucky +ferret -albino. The more you play with fun searches on any topic that interests you, they more you will get used to those minor differences. can help find popular search engines suited to people's search styles and needs: )

-- Sukie (not a vet, and not speaking for any of the below in my private posts)
Recommended health resources to help ferrets and the people who love them:
Ferret Health List
FHL Archives
AFIP Ferret Pathology
International Ferret Congress Critical References

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