Re: AltaVista search in various languages

From: Martin J. Duerst (
Date: Thu Jul 17 1997 - 07:52:39 EDT

On Thu, 17 Jul 1997, Leong Kok Yong wrote:

> Recently, i found out that AltaVista can allows user to search in various
> languages. I was delighted and went straight to
> But when i type in double-byte Chinese GB or Big5 characters, it return
> ------------------------------------
> No documents match the query.
> The term does not appear in the index.
> You might want to check the spelling.
> It is not currently possible to search for multi-byte characters within a
> Chinese document.
> -----------------------------------
> Then why did they bother to introduce the double-byte languages in the
> first place when it's not working?!?!

There may be several problems:

- The browser supports GB/Big-5/... in output (i.e. on the page), but
        not in input fields (because there it's a lot more work). This
        applied to a lot of browsers; I don't know whether it has

- There are some problems identifying the character encoding ("charset")
        a request (URL query part).

- There may be some problems with the search engine (it has to be
        changed to correctly work with GB/Big-5/...).

Even just having the ability to search for ASCII in Chinese documents
can be useful, although it is of course of limited value.

Regards, Martin.

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