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Searching shroud.com, academia.edu and other sites

August 5, 2014

imageA regular reader from Boston writes:

While doing research for a possible book on the history of the Shroud I’ve learned a few things about searching for Shroud related papers on the web.

Academia.edu: This seems to be the archive with the largest number of papers about  the Shroud.  Anyone may add papers for immediate public access and some of the best papers are to be found here along with some awful ones. Authors can organize their papers into folders. Users can track additions. Academia.edu supports Google Scholar. For Advanced Google searching, I suggest:

  • for site or domain: “academia.edu”
  • for file type: DO NOT specify anything
  • for none of these words:  “documents in” 
    Consequently 1) all of these words, 2) this exact word or phrase, 3) any of these words work to return a list of PDF files that can be read online or downloaded.

Shroud.com: This seems to be the second largest archive of papers on the Shroud. Papers are selected and organized into lists by a webmaster. Inexplicably and unfortunately this site has decided to block search engines from its PDF files. Therefore Google Scholar ignores the site and papers suffer diminished credibility. You can only search titles, which is wholly inadequate. Even though results are disappointing, I suggest using:

  • for site or domain: “shroud.com”
  • for file type: “Adobe PDF”

Just remember, if a word or phrase is not in the title you won’t find the paper with Google or any major search engine. This applies to conference papers and BSTS articles, as well. There is a partial work around provided by shroud.com. The title page at shroud.com includes a search box for an elementary site level search engine. Alternatively, you can paste the following into your browser and replace the word “example” with a search word or phrase:

All other sites: There are many papers out there.  For Advanced Google, I suggest:

  • for site or domain: (Optional or blank)
  • for file type: Adobe PDF

Then 1) all of these words, 2) this exact word or phrase, 3) any of these words all work to return a list of PDF files that can be read online or downloaded.

I delayed posting the above email until I could confirm this information with Google. I was surprised to learn that Google and other search engines do not search through PDF files on shroud.com. Google provided this link as an explanation: 

 https://www.shroud.com/robots.txt

User-agent: *
Disallow: /pdfs/
Disallow: *.pdf
Disallow: /images/

This is regrettable because shroud.com holds many of the most important papers on the shroud. They should be indexed by all major search engines.

  1. August 5, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Blocking search engines is a disservice to authors and the wider shroud world. Someone should be asking why. Why?

    • Dan
      August 5, 2014 at 10:05 am

      I imagine it may be to reduce bandwidth charges.

  2. Louis
    August 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Why depend only on “googling”? Yahoo is a very good option.

  3. August 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    The problem has now been corrected and the blocking file removed. Unfortunately, we added the blocking file in January 2014 when our bandwidth shot through the roof and generated over 130GB of traffic in just a few days, nearly tripling our average monthly bandwidth. According to our service provider, this was mostly generated by search engines. With the file removed, search engines can once again access the pdfs.

  4. August 6, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I would think Shroud.com had more Shroud documents than Academia.edu.

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