About six years ago I spent a long week implementing just the coolest possible way to index the Unshelved archive. It had full text, lists of characters, tagging, you name it. We got so far as entering in about six months worth of strips, before I soured on my overly-complex approach. Since then Gene has bugged me, and I'm not exaggerating here, every time he's seen me, to implement some kind of search. Any kind. He didn't care.
So I am finally keeping that promise by doing what I should have done years ago. I implemented OhNoRobot's simple and easy webcomic search engine. It took like ten minutes. I am truly lame.
Now it's your turn, librarians. We have nearly seven years worth of archives, almost 2500 strips in all, that need transcription. It's easy. Just go to the archive, choose a strip (clicking the "random" button is a good way to start) and, if there's a "transcribe this comic" button, click it. Then follow the directions.
Once we have reached critical mass of transcribed strips, which I hope will be by end of year, I will implement the search function on our site. In the meantime you can try it out here.
P.S. Here's what a transcription of today's strip looks like. Note the use of Mixed Case (but UPPER CASE is a great way to represent bold type). Each speaker is labeled. And provide description to set the scene and where necessary to tell the joke. Pretend you're reading the strip aloud.
[[Mel and Dewey are walking together in the library]]
Mel: When someone says you're the best, it's polite to disagree.
Dewey: *Was* I the best?
Dewey: I believe acknowledging the truth benefits us all.
Mel [[stopped]]: This isn't how this conversation was supposed to go.
Dewey [[walking on]]: That's not my fault.
Update: Over 350 strips indexed already! If everyone does a few we could be done by the end of the week!