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Xfind is Expanding: Questions & Answers
and Andreas Wagner
, IT/User Support
Before coming to the main subject of this article, a
quick word about the new top page of xfind, i.e. what is
http://consult.cern.ch/xfind. It has been redesigned
the areas in which xfind can search and, at the same
time, to allow you to restrict the search to one (or more)
This is what you get when you call xfind:
Search and View services, IT-documentation and more
As you can see, by default all areas are
selected. This is usually adequate if you specify sufficiently
restrictive keywords (especially if you give more than one).
However, if you are only interested in a particular area, you can
easily select just this area and thus get a more "precise" answer.
Example: If you are looking just for an answer to a
question/problem you encounter in your work, rather than a full
document, your choice would be the QAs (Question & Answer)
area of xfind. To select it you would
- Click on
None to deselect all areas and then
QAs to select the Questions &
The Questions & Answers in Xfind
In the recent months considerable work has been invested into our
Questions & Answer collection and we believe that
users could profit from what is already there. This article will
make you more familiar with this part of xfind and
encourage you to give it a try.
What are the Questions & Answers?
- A searchable collection of Web pages consisting of a
(relatively) short question and an answer to this question. The
questions are usually quite specific and the answers will just
answer the question and only rarely point to more general
What are the questions about?
- About everything any user may ask during her/his work with
computers at CERN.
How many Questions & Answers are
- 1725 at the time this CNL-article was written.
Will there be more?
- Yes, by hosting collections of other QA providers and
constantly creating new QAs our collection will grow constantly. We
are aiming at about 10000.
What is the difference between the Questions &
Answers and a "FAQ"?
- They cover all (rather than specific) areas in computing and
may also contain questions which have been asked rarely (but can be
extremely useful when available).
Where do the Questions & Answers originate
- Mainly from you, the users! The QAs have either been directly
asked at the Computing Helpdesk and - after some editing - fed into
the QA-database or they have been composed by members of the User
Support group (and User Support oriented colleagues in other
groups) on the basis of user questions.
What is the typical audience for the QAs?
- Difficult to say. In principle everyone. However, as the
answers will just answer the question, a beginner may not always be
able to fully profit. On the other hand, in well defined cases, the
answer will be complete (eg. by giving the exact command to type)
which will satisfy everybody's needs.
Are they all up-to-date?
- A thorny question! Obviously, with (in the future) many
thousand questions to deal with we cannot possibly check all
questions all the time. Several strategies will help us to keep the
quality at a high level:
- make it very easy for every person in charge to
update/correct QAs via Web-tools
- share the reponsibility for the QAs with a large number of
- facilitate the feedback as much as possible, and encourage the
users to use it
Should I give feedback?
Yes, Yes and
We really need your feedback on all levels! Design of the QAs,
missing QAs or QAs which are unclear, wrong or out-of-date. Do not
hesitate to let us know via the feedback link, available into both the top
pages as well as every single QA! We appreciate, of course, also
feedback on the feedback-mechanism itself.
How can I use best the Questions &
- The first way is via xfind in the way described at the
beginning of this article. However, the QAs have also their own top
http://consult.cern.ch/qas having the same functionality as
the xfind page with the selection.
How does the search work for the QAs?
- The search is extremely simple: no confusing options, just a
simple logical AND in case you specify more that one
When should I use the QAs?
- Preferably before you phone or mail the Computing
For matters related to this article please contact the author.
Last Updated on Fri Sep 24 18:02:57 GMT+03:30 1999.
Copyright © CERN 1999 -- European Laboratory for Particle Physics