Re: [htdig] use_meta_description appears to fail

Subject: Re: [htdig] use_meta_description appears to fail
From: Ted Stresen-Reuter (
Date: Wed Aug 23 2000 - 21:17:06 PDT


Thanks for the thoughts... See my replies below, but if you want a quick
glance go to and enter
"people" or "grantmakers" and you'll see some of the things I'm talking

Ultimately, this whole things issue comes down to a desire to be able to
filter out just pages with predefined htdig-keywords. My client doesn't want
to have to manually update an index every time she adds a page to her site.
Instead, I was hoping to be able to use the htdig-keywords to capture just
the pages that matched in predefined searches - as in menu items that when
selected, show you only the pages that matched.

I realize that this may not be possible, but I'm very creative and I bet I
can figure out a hack (linguistically) that will make it work.

> From: Geoff Hutchison <>
> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 21:14:46 -0500
> To: "Ted Stresen-Reuter" <>
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: [htdig] use_meta_description appears to fail
> At 6:45 PM -0500 8/23/00, Ted Stresen-Reuter wrote:
>> I've recently installed htdig 3.1.5 and added use_meta_description:
>> true to my config file. I've reindexed my site and yet the search
>> results still display the text surrounding the matched terms (which
>> isn't terrible, but not what I want).
> And the pages have META description tags? When you say you
> "reindexed," what did you do?

The pages all have META description tags. When I say "reindex" I mean I'm
executing "rundig". I don't have shell access to the machine that is hosting
the site so to execute rundig, I point my browser to Makes things a little
more difficult (like having to call tech support if I need to reinstall the
3.1.5 package), but it appears to work.
>> Finally, I suspect that both of these odd symptoms may be caused by
>> a tag that was present in most pages when the database was installed
>> and first indexed: <meta name="revisit-after" content="30 days">.
>> Would this tag keep htdig from
> I've never seen a tag like this. It's not in the list of recognized
> META tags (which is quite large). Not a bad idea though. But to
> answer you question, no it would not stop htdig from reindexing the
> pages.

This tag is produced by a program called VSE BeFound - a program for
preparing and submitting your site to search engines. I suspect that this
tag is more directed at larger search engines that may actually understand
the tag and actually pay attention to it. I have since removed it from my
pages just in case.
> My first guess would be that you reindexed with the old databases
> there, in which case it will just update the pages and it may not
> replace them. Even so, if you've modified the pages by adding in the
> tags, the pages should be cleaned out. I assume you used them like
> so: <!--htdig_noindex-->

Two things: Is it possible to just delete the database by logging in through
ftp and deleting the file or do I have to delete it through the shell
interface? And, I'm indeed using the <!--htdig_noindex--> and
<!--/htdig_noindex--> tags. In fact, I've used them in two places on one
page. Perhaps if I delete the database, htdig will respect these tags. I
doubt, however, that htdig wouldn't be able to handle multiple occurrences
of such a tag...
> To answer you question about the META descriptions, they're always
> indexed regardless of whether the use_meta_description is set or not.
> That's why it's qualified as an attribute applying to htsearch. So if
> you're not seeing them show up, then most likely the documents don't
> have META descriptions defined.

Actually, I'm glad the META descriptions are getting indexed. What I want is
for htsearch to _show_ the META descriptions in the results, not the EXCERPT
text that ordinarily shows. That's why in my config file I set
use_meta_description: true. And yes, I made sure to run rundig after
modifying the config file.
> I'm going a bit on intuition here--more details (or better yet, a
> URL) would really help.
> Thanks,

No, no. Thank you, and everyone else who may be able to lend a hand. It
would be outstanding if I could get this squared away pronto.

Ted Stresen-Reuter

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