Generate and Search For Name Variants With Carl’s Name Net

Carl is a longtime Patreon, and I really appreciate him!

Recently we’ve been trading emails about doing name-based searches. I was thinking about how he could get some name variation searching done when I wondered if this was a job for JavaScript. And it apparently is!

Carl’s Name Net takes a name and optional keywords, generates a set of name variants (for “John Paul Smith” you’d get John Smith, Smith John Paul, JP Smith, etc) and builds search URLs for Google, Google Books, Google Scholar, and Internet Archive. For the Google searches, it creates two sets of searches: one for common name variants, and one for uncommon. (If you don’t specify a middle name, you’ll only get one set of name searches for each resource.) For the Internet Archive, every name gets its own search URL.

The keyword option is for filtering out irrelevant results. If you find you’re getting too much junk in your results, add general keywords here. Keep them general: if the person you’re searching lived in Paris, consider France as a potential keyword. If they taught at Notre Dame, consider adding professor before adding Notre Dame.

Anything you add here will be added to the end of the name query, hopefully to help filter out useless results.
Don’t get too specific; if you’re looking for physicists, add physics. If you’re looking for someone who lived in Berlin their whole life, add Germany.

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