Artificial Life Database Weblication
Alife related sites on the web


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Overview

The Alife Database is a successor to the previous Alife Database. Unlike the former version which was based on a static, flat-file database, this version implements a true dynamic database with full database functionality. As in the former version, the data is automatically gathered by an intelligent search bot that scans the world wide web for Alife related pages. The truly open database is both searchable and updateable: Authors of sites referenced in the database are welcome to edit and update their corresponding records. In addition, anyone is welcome to add a new entry for an Alife-related site.

Database built by robot

The data is gathered by a net searching software robot. This Search Bot (Macrobot) scans the WWW and collects Alife related pages, according to specified keywords. When a suitable page is found, its meta-tags are analyzed and their content inserted into the appropriate fields of the database, while its first few lines are inserted into the page description field.

Multiple database entries

The database may contain multiple instances of the same Url. This is intentional. Since records are gathered automatically by a robot, the same Url can be found by different keywords and entered under different categories. It would be undesirable to assign it arbitrarily to a specific category. This design also have the advantages of easier search and the option to assign manually different data to entries in different categories. The minus side of having a larger database is not very meaningful in the case of the Alife Database.

Search Features

The database search form contains all the public fields of the database. Search strings may be entered into any or all of these fields, and the search strings themselves may be either complete (exact) or partial. The query is composed by ANDing all filled fields. Fields that are left empty retain their previous data. Each search string can be defined as exact or partial. The default is Partial, meaning *String* (or %String%) in SQL language. By default all fields are displayed in the results table, but any field(s) can excluded from the results. This option enables formatting the output table to be printed on a single page, with just the required fields. The output table can be sorted by any field, and displayed either in compact or full mode.

Retrieving Data

Searching the database is done by filling fields in the Search form. The resulting query is constructed by adding all the non-empty fields (it seems to me that the OR or NOT Boolean operators are seldom required in such an application). The retrieved records can be displayed either in compact or full modes (user selected).

Updating Data

The options of adding or editing data are open to all, in the faith that they will not be abused. Naturally, only authors of referenced pages are allowed to modify the corresponding entries. The update option seems needed, since frequently the automatically created database entries are only partially filled (The source of the data is the Html Meta tags, and if there are no Meta tags, the data is partial). This way authors have the opportunity of completing (or updating) their records anytime. Please use the Edit Record form in order to edit an entry

Adding Records

If an Alife related site has been overlooked by the Database Building Agent, here is the opportunity to add it manually, using the Add Record form. All relevant additions to the database are welcome. Please add only Alife-related entries.

Database Updates

The database will be updated periodically, by letting the automatic robot re-scan the net for relevant data. However, records that have been edited, or records added online, will not be disturbed. It is assumed that by editing his record the author expresses his will to override the automatically gathered data. Likewise, if a record has been added manually, it is assumed this is the way its author wants it to look.

Limitations

Since the gathering process is automatic, it is inevitable that a certain percentage of the records will turn out to be irrelevant. However, the searching capabilities of the database should make it is easy to filter irrelevant data.

The database editing options are given in the faith that they will not be abused. Please let me know if you find that data about your sites has been changed without your knowledge.

Feedback

Any kind of feedback is welcome. Please send your comments to Ariel Dolan. This database is maintained for the benefit of Alife community, and I shall be glad to enhance it according to users' wishes.


Search the Artificial Life Database Add an entry to the Artificial Life Database Update an entry in the Artificial Life Database