[NAFEX] Searching NAFEX archives with email client
apa3a at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 29 11:50:01 EDT 2010
after a few years I joined NAFEX again. Recently I wanted to search for some information in the archives of this mailing list, but discovered that there is no web interface for that. The archives on http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/private/nafex/ can not be searched by outside search engines either, because they are password-protected. One can only browse the messages.
Below is the description of the procedure I used to import the email messages from the archive files into a mail client Thunderbird. Thunderbird provides nice, treaded view of the messages and quick search functionality.
Note 1: I'm on Ubuntu Linux, so these instructions will work for Linux, probably will work for Mac OS X. I will give suggestions on how to accomplish this on Windows, but Windows users need to confirm that they work.
Note 2: steps 1 and 2 can be done by a single person, who may then upload the resulting file on a members-only web site. Dow we have such web space? This would make setting up search and updating the message archive much easier and more accessible for non-technical users. I suggest to put the instructions on the mailing list description page. Otherwise the archive search setup instructions can be found only by search :-) I can maintain the single-file message archive.
STEP 1. Download all the monthly archives
Go to http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/private/nafex/ and download all the monthly archives, except the archive for the current month, because it is still being updated. In Firefox you can do this by right-clicking on all the links "[ Gzip'd Text XXX KB ]" in the right column of the table and choosing the "Save Link As..." popup menu item. You'll get 99 files named like "2010-March.txt.gz". That's a lot of clicking :-)
Put all these files into a separate directory.
STEP 2. Concatenate the monthly archives into a single file
On Linux and (probably) on Mac OS X you can do this in the command-line terminal window by running the following command in the directory with the files:
cat *.txt.gz > NAFEX
You'll get a large (73 Mb) file called "NAFEX" containing the content of all the monthly archives. The archived version of the file is about 18 Mb.
On Windows use the following command:
copy /a *.txt.gz > NAFEX
STEP 3. Load the archive into the desktop mail client
I use the mail client Thunderbird. You can download this nice program from http://www.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/thunderbird/ . It is developed by the same community, which created the Firefox web browser.
For the email clients other than Thunderbird, check if they have ability to import "mbox" email archive format or "Unix mailbox". You can experiment with a single month archive to verify whether the message import works.
Thunderbird uses the mbox format natively. Find where Thunderbird stores its mail database. This is somewhere in your user directory. On Linux, for example, this is in "~/.mozilla-thunderbird/<profile name>/Mail/Local Folders". Copy the NAFEX file into the "Local Folders" directory in the Thunderbird directory, restart Thunderbird. Thunderbird will show the NAFEX folder with all the messages under "Local Folders".
On my not that powerful computer Thunderbird easily handles all the 33101 messages for more than 7 years of the archive.
Questions, comments, suggestions?
Zone 6, Eastern MA
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