Tag Archives: tags

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Forum search with BoardTracker.com

Last August I blogged about a “Technorati for Bulletin Boards” and how forums could make use of tagging, just as blogs have done. About three weeks ago, I heard about BoardTracker, and they’ve done just that, and more!

So BoardTracker is a search engine for bulletin boards, allowing you to find specific information from discussion communities. But they’ve gone beyond being a vertical search engine by creating PHP modules for specific bulletin board systems such as phpBB, vBulletin and Invision Board that allow you to integrate their bulletin board search functionality directly into your site (thereby relieving bulletin board servers of the added load of search). Also, they’ve written the nifty tagging for bulletin board posts I was on about, allowing cross-forum and cross-site tagging of post content! (Now to look at how SIOC can fit in with this…)

We’ve installed BoardTracker search at boards.ie, and now have a nice tag cloud on our front page. Interesting to see that the 20 main tags used so far (on ~800 tagged threads) are:

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Should Technorati Index Bulletin Boards and How

It popped into my head a few days ago that Technorati could do something very similar to their blog search engine for bulletin boards. How?

  1. Bulletin boards can provide RSS feeds of their content, on a per-forum basis. I’ve installed this functionality for phpBB and vBulletin, and there’s not that much to it.
  2. Bulletin board software usually has BBCode, or quick markup for inserting HTML into a discussion post. You then just have to add a BBCode markup item for “tags”.

For example,


would get translated to:

Tag: <a target=_blank href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/{param}">{param}</a>

for use by Technorati (as long as the HTML is exported in the description / content chunk).

Once one set of bulletin board developers start implementing this and seeing the search benefits, you can bet the rest would cop on pretty quickly.

Of course, SIOC can also be used to express information about a bulletin board post more completely than RSS, and this tag information could form part of that.