Tips of the Month
This page forms a repository for the Tips of the Month sent out
as part of the Fweet monthly (nowadays occasional) email
newsletters. If you wish to subscribe to this mailing list, you can do
so through the Comment on Me page.
June 2007 (How to Save Default Search Options)
- If, every time you reach Fweet's search engine page, you
find yourself changing some option from the website's default, such as
turning on the "Show FW Text" or "Search in Finnegans Wake Text"
options — or, even more frustratingly, you remember that you have
forgotten to change it as soon as the results page loads on the screen
— why not use the "Save Default" facility to customise the
site to your own needs? Just select the combination of options you
would like the default to be, click on the "Save Default" button,
located under the "Search String" text box, and that configuration will
be there waiting for you every time you return to the site, even weeks
later. For more details, should you need any, see the appropriate
entry in the user's manual, which
describes the functionality of all the action buttons located below the
"Search String" text box. Tip.
July 2007 (How to Browse a Range of Pages)
- If you wish to browse the elucidations for a range of pages of
Finnegans Wake (e.g. 109 to 113), it is probably simplest to
type one page number (e.g. 111) into the "Page" text box (found
near the middle of the search engine page) and then to use the
"Previous Page" and "Next Page" facilities at the top of
the results page to move to adjacent pages. If the range of pages you
wish to browse is large enough, you may want to consider retrieving all
the elucidations for an entire chapter at once by using one of the
"Chapter" shorthands (e.g. I.5), located just below the "Page"
text box. For more details, should you need any, see the entries for
Chapter shorthands in the user's
August 2007 (How to Search for Finnegans Wake Text)
- If you need to search for a word or a phrase from the text of
Finnegans Wake itself (e.g. penisolate), rather than from
the collection of elucidations, you should first turn on the "Search
in Finnegans Wake Text" option (which is off by default).
Note that this refers to the "Search in Finnegans Wake
Text" option (one of the scope options), not to the
slightly-similarly-named "Show FW Text" option (one of the
display options). If you fail to do so (and there are no elucidations
containing your search string), you will be reminded of it by a nice
little message on the results page (fondly known as "Hint #091"). For
more details, should you need any, see the entries for the
Search in Finnegans Wake Text
and Show FW Text
options in the user's manual. Tip.
September 2007 (Why Examine the Previous Line)
- When you examine the elucidations for a given line of Finnegans
Wake, you may also want to check the elucidations for the previous
line, since a phrase containing words from the current line may have
started on the previous line and is thus elucidated there. Fweet
always attempts to associate an elucidation with the earliest possible
word related to it, not necessarily the most conspicuous one. For
example, if one currently examines 345.15 ("when you smugs to bagot"),
one finds no elucidations about smoking tobacco, but were one to also
look at those for 345.14 ("hate! Fairwail! Fearwealing of the groan!
And think of that"), one would find a quote from Samuel Lover that
reads "Think o' this when you're smoking tobacco", a quote that is
accordingly associated with the word "think" on line .14. The simplest
way to examine the elucidations for a preceding line is to use the
"–" link located at the very beginning of any elucidation for the
current line. Tip.
October 2007 (Why Search for the Exact Phrase)
- Unlike many other search engines, Fweet searches for the
exact string you have typed in the "Search String" text box. For
example, if you are interested in elucidations referring to Alexander
Pope's The Rape of the Lock, you cannot expect to find any by
searching for "rape lock", "pope lock" or "pope rape", as these strings
do not appear as such in the Fweet collection of elucidations.
You can, however, find these elucidations by using search strings such
as "rape of the lock", "of the lock", "rape THEN lock", "pope AND
lock", or "lock AND rape AND pope", among many others. You can even
just use "rape of", if you are willing to wade through some extra
November 2007 (When Not to Click on "Submit Query")
- By default, Line and Page shorthands (like all other shorthands)
are set to automatically submit their search. This means that you
should not click on the "Submit Query" button when using Line
or Page shorthands. If you do, a race occurs between your speedy
click and the automatic submission mechanism of the browser, which may
result, depending on your browser, in a search for an empty search
string, a regular shorthand search, or, most commonly, two searches for
the same shorthand being invoked in parallel, slowing each other (only
one will appear in your browser). Again, you should not click
on the "Submit Query" button when using Line or Page shorthands. I
recommend either clicking on the search engine's auburn background or
using the "Tab" key on your keyboard. Tip.
December 2007 (How to Use the "Whole Words" Option)
- The "Whole Words" option significantly slows down searches.
Running the same search, yielding the same elucidations, with and
without this option, results in markedly different running times (e.g.
two to three seconds (with the option) versus less than half a second
(without)). Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use the
"Whole Words" option only if necessary, namely only after
a search for a short string (e.g. land) has resulted in too many
irrelevant elucidations related to longer strings (e.g. Ireland,
England, Icelandic, Wonderland, Holland, etc.). Please remember that
running a search with the option will never return more
elucidations than when run without (and will usually return
less!), so there is no point in enabling it if no elucidations were
found without it. Tip.
January 2008 (How to Retrieve Previous Search Strings)
- This tip is about a nifty trick of the web browser that is not well
known, but may come in handy when using Fweet; sadly, it is
currently supported only by Firefox and Netscape, to the
best of my knowledge. If you place your cursor (i.e. click) within the
"Search String" text-box, you can use the "Ctrl-Z" keyboard combination
to move backwards to older (i.e. previously-typed) search strings
(assuming there are any, of course), without having to retype them. You
can use "Ctrl-Y" similarly to move forwards to newer ones (assuming you
have already moved backwards using Ctrl-Z first, of course). Tip.
February 2008 (How to Use the NEXT keyword)
- Fweet always searches for exactly what you have typed
into the "Search String" box, so you need to know exactly what
to type. Usually this is not a problem, but sometimes it may be. Should
you type "thunderword" or "thunder-word" or "thunder word"? Is it
"teastain" or "tea-stain" or "tea stain"? Is it "stop, thief" or "stop
thief"? "Through the looking-glass" or "Through the looking glass"? And
so forth. Rather than wrack your brains or try all options, why not use
a special keyword intended just for this kind of case? Whenever you
vacillate between spelling options that differ only in the presence
or absence of spaces and/or punctuation marks, you should resort to
the NEXT keyword. This keyword allows the word or words flanking
it to be separated by any number (even zero) of spaces and/or
punctuation marks and still qualify for inclusion by the search engine.
Thus, for the examples above just use "thunder NEXT word", "tea NEXT
stain", "stop NEXT thief" and "through the looking NEXT glass". If you
feel particularly witty, you could even type "thun NEXT der NEXT word".
For more details, should you need any, see the appropriate entry in the
user's manual. Tip.
March 2008 (Which Edition of Finnegans Wake to Use)
- When you run a search using the "Search in Finnegans Wake
Text" option, it is run on the Finnegans Wake electronic text
as currently stored on Fweet's computer. Barring any unknown
typos, this version is a compromise between the Faber-and-Faber
and Viking editions (which are not identical). Where
these two editions differ (see the "Variants, where Faber and Viking
editions differ" shorthand under the "Editorials" brevity for a list of
known differences), preference is for the one that better adheres to
Joyce's corrections of misprints; if no such guidance is available,
preference is for the one that agrees with the Penguin edition.
The major implication of this is that if you search for a text as it
appears in the Penguin edition (which is markedly different from
the other two, since it does not incorporate any of Joyce's corrections
of misprints; see the "Variants" shorthand under the "Editorials"
brevity for a list of known differences), you run a small risk of not
finding the text. For example, if you search for "hyelp hyelf nor"
([141.13] in Penguin and in old editions (pre-1957, I believe)
that did not incorporate Joyce's corrections), you will return
empty-handed. What you should be searching for is "hyelp hyelp nor"
([141.13] in every other major edition, including Fweet).
Generally speaking, I would recommend avoiding the Penguin
edition altogether, whether using Fweet or not, as it clearly
does not reflect Joyce's intentions in about nine-hundred places (i.e.
more than once a page). Tip.
April 2008 (What If There Are No Elucidations)
- It may be obvious to some, but not to others, that there are some
lines of Finnegans Wake for which Fweet currently has no
elucidations. Thus, if you search for such a line, you will obviously
receive no results, through no fault of yours. However, in order to
differentiate these lines from non-existent ones and to simplify the
browsing between adjacent lines, their line number and associated links
are still displayed. For example, if you search, using the "Line"
shorthand, for line 029.36, for which there are currently no
elucidations, the results page will show the number of "Elucidations
found" to be '0', but the number of "Finnegans Wake
lines" found will be '1' and a '–029.36+' set of
links will be present, allowing you to browse to the previous or
the next line. However, if you search, using the "Line" shorthand, for
line 029.37, which does not exist, the results page will also show the
number of "Elucidations found" to be '0', but the number of
"Finnegans Wake lines" found will be '0' and no
location links will be present at all. Tip.
May 2008 (Why Not to Use Copy-and-Paste)
- Different operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux) and different
applications (e.g. web browsers, word processors) have different
methods of internally coding the characters displayed on our computer
screens. While most use the same conventions for displaying regular
alphanumeric characters (i.e. a-z, A-Z, 0-9), variation is much greater
when it comes to some punctuation marks (e.g. hyphens, apostrophes) and
especially to accented letters (e.g. é, ü, å). What
looks to our eyes as two identical characters, may be internally
represented by two very different symbols, values or numbers. This
short theoretical introduction explains why if you copy-and-paste any
text other than regular alphanumeric characters from anywhere
(including from some page of Fweet itself) into the
"Search String" text box on the search engine page and then perform a
search, that search may well fail (often resulting in a hint explaining
the limits and perils of copy-and-pasting). Thus, the general
recommendation is to avoid copy-and-pasting into the "Search String"
box altogether and instead just type the text to be searched with one's
ten (or two) fingers. Tip.
June 2008 (Why Not to Double-Click)
- When you click on the the "Submit Query" button, try not to
double-click. No big deal, but it does run two identical searches,
instead of one. And while we're on the issue of the "Submit Query"
button, you may also want to read (or reread) the tip for November
July 2008 (What to Do with Spaces)
- As is probably well known by now, Fweet searches for
exactly was has been typed (see the tip for October 2007 for
more about this). There is however one exception and it involves
spaces. Spaces are easily ignored by the human eye and the human mind,
much more so than by computers; to avoid confusion, Fweet does
the same. Any leading spaces (i.e. all spaces before the first
character), trailing spaces (i.e. all spaces after the last character)
and consecutive spaces (i.e. all spaces but one between words) are
discarded from your search string by the search engine (with a short
note to that effect). If you have added these spaces intentionally in
order to search for whole words rather than parts of words, you should
be looking at the "Whole Words" option in the
user's manual. Tip.
August 2008 (What to Do with Cross-References)
- One of the (many) drawbacks of Fweet is that when it comes
to page-dot-line cross-references (taking the form [012.34]), there is
no clear indication whether what is being referred to is: (a) a
specific elucidation on that line, or (b) the Finnegans Wake
text of that line. Alas, this is not going to change in the foreseeable
future. As a rough rule of thumb to differentiate between the two,
cross-references appearing alongside a textual elucidation tend to
point to other elucidations, while those appearing as an entire
elucidation of themselves tend to point to the text of
Finnegans Wake. Regardless, if you click on a cross-reference
and reach a set of elucidations that do not seem to relate to the
source of the cross-reference (or in extreme cases to no elucidations
at all), you may want to enable the "Show FW Text" option at the top of
the results page (not to be confused with the similarly-named "Search
in Finnegans Wake Text" option) to check if the cross-reference
pertains to the Finnegans Wake text itself. Tip.
September 2008 (Where to Find a Finnegans Wake Wiki)
- From time to time I am asked to make Fweet a wiki (i.e.
allow users to add and modify elucidations freely) or at least to make
my harsh entry criteria more flexible and accommodating (i.e. allow
more imaginative elucidations in). Frankly, this is unlikely to happen,
since I find a lot of the Finnegans Wake exegesis out there to
be quite outrageous (no offence meant). I will of course be sad to lose
potential contributors, but for those of you who understandably find
Fweet's policy too elitist and too tyrannical, please know that
there is a more democratic alternative, where you could publish your
findings without censorship. It is called
and may well be exactly what you were looking for. Why not take a peek?
November 2008 (How to Speed Up Searches)
- Here are a few random notes about performance for those of you
interested in speedier searches. First and most important, shorthand
searches are several fold faster than non-shorthand ones (e.g. it is
faster to use the "Line" shorthand than to search for the text of that
line; it is faster to use the "French" shorthand than to search for the
word "French"). Second, it is somewhat faster to search for a single
word than for multiple words. Third, it is always much slower to use
the "Whole Words" option than not to use it. Fourth, the first freetext
search of a session (i.e. a search in which you actively type some text
into the "Search String" box for the first time after entering
Fweet on a given period of time) is usually significantly
slower. And last, you can always check the website's performance by
examining the "Search duration" row on the search results page (it also
mentions if the search has used cached results or not; the former is
immensely faster). Tip.
January 2009 (How to Use the OR Keyword)
- Occasionally you wish to search for some word, but you are unsure
how it is spelled within the Fweet repository. For example,
should it be "whiskey" or "whisky"? You could of course perform two
searches, first for one term, then for the other, but that would be
inconvenient and cumbersome. The straightforward solution is to use the
OR keyword. In the example above, that would mean searching for
"whiskey OR whisky". The same method is applicable even if you have
more than two terms (e.g. "Hamlet OR King Lear OR Macbeth"). For more
details, should you need any, see the appropriate entry in the
user's manual. Tip.
March 2009 (Why Send Me Questions)
- Some time ago, a user sent me a question about "Benjamin de
Bouillis". He had read that this phrase, which is the title of a modern
dance show, was from Finnegans Wake. He had tried to use
Fweet to locate the original phrase (using the search string
"benjamin de bouillis") but was unable to find it. He then sent me a
"comment", asking for my help, which I was only too glad to offer,
explaining that the original was not "benjamin de bouillis", but rather
"benjamin of bouillis" [038.02]. The moral of this story: if some
search yields no results, do not automatically assume that Fweet
is in the wrong and do not simply give up, but instead send me a note.
Who knows, perhaps I can help. Tip.
June 2010 (What to Do with Dashes and Hyphens)
- If you tend to search for specific lines of Finnegans Wake
by typing the text of the line (instead of using the more convenient
"Line" and "Page" shorthands), at some point you will come across the
issue of dashes and hyphens. To search for a dash (e.g. 056.09:
"calling — holy"), you need to type two consecutive hyphens (i.e.
"calling -- holy"). To search for a word split by an end-of-line hyphen
(e.g. 056.03-.04: "yawn-" + "ing"), you need to type the whole word
without any hyphen (i.e. "yawning"). That said, let me restate that the
"Line" and "Page" shorthands are significantly more
convenient to use than typing long strings of Finnegans Wake
text, and much less prone to typing errors. Tip.
February 2012 (What about the Wordsworth Classics Edition)
- As pointed out earlier (see the tip for March 2008 for more about
this), I do not recommend the Penguin edition of Finnegans
Wake since it does not incorporate Joyce's own corrections and is
thus a faulty and unauthorial edition. On January 2012, with the
expiry of Finnegans Wake's copyright in the EU, Wordsworth
Classics published a new edition of Finnegans Wake. Sadly,
though not unexpectedly, this edition seems almost identical to the
Penguin edition and is similarly not recommended. Tip.
July 2013 (How to use Fweet's simple URL format)
- Alongside its full-blowm search engine, Fweet also offers a
short and simple URL format specifically designed to
search for a given page or line of Finnegans Wake, displaying
both text and elucidations. The format to use (by typing it into the
"URL box" at the top of your browser screen) is
fweet.org/sim.pl?543 for a given page
[replace 543 with any three-digit page number between 003
and 628] and fweet.org/sim.pl?543.21 for a
given line [ditto, and replace 21 with any two-digit line
number between 01 and 37]. This feature, suggested by J.B., was
specifically intended for tweets and similar character-limited
communication channels, but may well be useful elsewhere.
[Site Map] Last Update: Jun 30 2013