Ephemeral

About Ephemeral


    Ephemeral is a completely automated archive.  Articles on ALT.TV.X-FILES.CREATIVE starting with "NEW" are automatically snatched into the database, where you can view them.  When the wonderful Gossamer archive updates, Ephemeral is cleared.

    NOTHING is guaranteed to work on Ephemeral.  Stories might not be archived, some articles that aren't stories MIGHT be archived, the stories might be horribly formatted, and Ephemeral itself may not even be up.  This archive is provided as a convienience to fill the gap between Gossamer updates.  I leave accuracy up to the Gossamer folks, they do a great job.
 
 

Browsing and Searching

    Ephemeral, besides providing the stories on ATXC, also provides some really handy methods of organizing the stories so you can find what you want to read.  The simplest way is to browse the default list of stories sorted by date.  This is the list you get by simply pointing your browser at http://ephemeralfic.org.

    You can instruct Ephemeral to organize the stories in other ways, using the Browse Controls panel at the bottom of the page.  Here, you can select to sort by Title, Author, E-mail of poster, Number of hits, Length, Date, and Number of Recommendations.  And you can use the second select-box to choose between Ascending and Descending order.  There are two additional fields, one to specify the number of stories per page, and the first entry to start at (eg, skip this many entries).  Once you've customized these settings, clicking Browse will regenerate the Ephemeral page with your preferences.  You can bookmark this first page if you like this mode.

    In addition to the Browse Controls, there is a Search Control panel as well.  Here, you can specify (in addition to the Browse settings) to search the database for strings.  You can search in Title/Author, and Text.  A couple of notes, here:  Searching Title/Author searches all of Title, E-mail and Author name.  Second, searching the text of the stories is a little misleading.  You're actually only searching the first 512 characters (About 40 lines).  This is useful for searching for identifying information.  For example, you could search for "Character Death", or "SHA" to find stories that have Character Deaths or are categorized as Story, Humor, Angst.
    All searches are case-insensitive.  Searching for Lisa would retrieve stories with Lisa, lisa, and LISA in the field.
 
 

Recommendations

    As a service to other readers, you might want to recommend stories you liked.  You can do this by clicking the Recommend link on the stories list, or at the end of a story.  This will add 1 to the Recommendations field of the story.  Readers can then find stories with lots of recommendations and read them.  I'm probably going to be flamed for this and the Hits features, but I wear asbestos underwear.

Posting


    It seems a little odd to have posting guidelines for an automated archival system, but in case you are really concerned, Ephemeral archives stories based on the following (lenient) rules:

1. Subjects whose first three characters are 'NEW'
2. Subjects whose first four characters are '*NEW'
3. Subjects whose first four characters are 'REP:'
4. Subjects whose first four characters are 'REV:'
5. Subjects whose first six characters are 'REPOST'
6. Subjects whose first seven characters are 'REVISED'

There are about a half dozen other checks, but these above four get the most results.  So try to adhere to them.
My personal preference is for all new stories to start with 'NEW: ', and all reposts with 'REP: '.'

The flip side of the coin is, of course, if you DON'T want Ephemeral to grab your stories. Personally, I don't see this as a problem, as Ephemeral doesn't keep the stories forever, just until the next Gossamer update, however, if you really don't want your stories archived, make sure the string "*NO ARCHIVE*" (sans quotation marks, but WITH asterisks, and in all caps), appears within the first 20 lines of text. This signals the Ephemeral NNTP engine to ignore this otherwise archived story.
 
 

Tips, Tricks, and Hints

Technology


    I'm quite proud of the technology behind the scenes.  Ephemeral is composed entirely of  Open Source software.  Its written in PHP3, accessing a MySQL database of archived stories.  The stories themselves are periodically fetched by a home grown Java application, running on my own Gamora architecture.  The Web server is Apache 1.3, running on the delightfully quick and stable Linux operating system.  Click the icons below for the homepages of each component.

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