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The importance of persistence
a case study

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Searching an image without knowing its name
The importance of persistence: a case study
by Mordred & Jeff,
published @ searchlores in March 2004
(Slightly edited by fravia+)

Mordred's original posting
Jeff's addition

The importance of persistence: a case study, Mordred's original posting 

Some time ago there were talks of presenting our own searches to demonstrate some principles in searching. I am generally a hasty guy, that's why this particular search is very valuable to me - it teaches the importance of persistence

There's an album named "Stronghold" by a metal band called "Summoning". On my tape, on the inner side, there was a very intriguing picture of a strange bent creature with long pointy ears, playing on a flute, apparently made from a human thigh bone. Periodically I try to search this image on the net, and learn more about it - who drew it, what is the creature, etc. Every time, until today, I failed.

Here's the path I took today.

First target - the image itself. I started with the keyword approach. That is, because I knew where this image appeared, I hoped that describing the 'place' could lead me to the image.

summoning stronghold inner cover

Thus I hope to find a fan-page with CD artwork on it. Usually the official sites don't post their artwork. There should be reasons to BUY their CD-s after all, instead of d/l them. Shift-clicked on the first result, started to browse the other SERPs. The first one looked VERY promising - a russian site! (i.e. huge audience, little concerns about legal rights)

In the six little images at the bottom there's the CD cover ( , but in too small a size to see if the 'elf' is in it. Pity, I thought and went on the other results before quickly getting bored and ready to give up.

This first page WAS the right one, and when I came to it for the second time, and dragged the little image to open it in another page, only then I saw its peculiar url. It has 'img/downloadable' in the path - just what I need! Thinking what I'm thinking? Open directories, anyone?

And lo and behold, a few clicks later I came to, where there are a series of strong_booklet*.jpg -s. Yeah, I know, I could've reached that by clicking albums->stronghold. Have I been more patient the first time, I would find it quicker. Be persistent. There it is - our strange fellow:

Unfortunately, there was no info on the image, and the new term found here - booklet (I thought it was on the inside cover - that's the pity of having pirated music ;) was not helpful at all.

summoning stronghold booklet artist -- nothing. Was about to try kartoo, when I thought to ask first for the COVER artist:

summoning stronghold cover artist. Blahblahblah, the first results are obvious crap, until we come to the #5 geocities fan site, with 'zine' in its name, looking like an interview.


I forgot to talk about your fascinating booklet? Who is the author and what does the booklet present? Especially the figure of Elf (?) playing on the boneflute or eating some flesh fascinate me.

The paintings of the cover and the booklet present nothing special. They are just visual translations of the music and shall turn the listener into this special feeling of wanderlust, which is represented by the music. Different artists do the paintings. The cover for example was made by Caspar David Friedrich, the boneflute player was painted by Michael Whelan.

The funny part - had I tried different wording (artists, painting(s), etc.) I'd nail it right (instead of going there by pure chance -- see how the keywords actually refer to the other guy).

And the MOST funny part is, that had I taken the keyword path in its descrption fork: (describing the image itself)
elf boneflute
It would be there at once. (Note that some fiddling with the keywords is also needed, it's not bone flute, as I have put it before, but boneflute. Fiddle the keywords, if you take the keyword path. Period.)

So, back to (artist's official galleries are the best first step, they may not sport large resolution scans, but you'll have ALL their work in one place, and you'll be able to find the NAME knowing the IMAGE, and v.v.)

But what is this? Four galleries, quickly browsed them, and no meat. Tried several other galleries, but no luck also (they had mostly book covers, turned out he drew covers for many favourite sci-fi authors ... oh and Sepultura albums too :)

And here, the lesson about persistence still fresh in my mind, I returned back to the official site. And again, the lesson was right :) I'll leave the finding of the actual gallery/image as an exercise to the reader :)
After that, official name and all, it's easier to hunt for big-res versions.

The importance of persistence: a case study, Jeff's addition

What are we looking for? where the whelan gallery is that holds the pic of the flutebone player? & because it doesn't seem to be in the present day gallery at whelan site? if i understand this to be correct ok... then maybe i do follow (information overload kills my brain cells and now not only is memory getting worse but so too my comprehension - i think we are not looking for the 'two worlds' one is what my confusion is also :)

the robots.txt is interesting - but my browser won't load the images or archives files ... neither will :(

as to your reverse study

i too do this at least once a month ... i will see a picture, and think, ok i KNOW where this animal is; what its called; text on page; filename; -- now --- how can i find this knowing it is there. It is a very good way to develop ways of identifying what exists on pages- and what may not ... the very strange thing is that it also shows you at times just how slippery the differences in engines... example: you can use certain keywords that you Know should bring the animal up in Images - and get nothing - but then click over on the web tab and there it is (the url you know holds it)

another thing i would like to again point out (at least for me) is to narrow the search using less keywords rather than more- less gives me more heh

in your example:
summoning stronghold inner cover

i would have used rather
summoning stronghold cover

and just like moving bone flute to boneflute using album rather cover would be another legitimate logical next step - and yes its there

pluralizing album to albums ... and yes its in .ru too ...

and just as you have done as you move thru the process you gather keyword elements about your subject as you learn more about it - following your examples i gather some keys

mike/michael whelan

so after gathering some berries we make a pie -
Unfortunately, there was no info on the image, and the new term found here - booklet (I thought it was on the inside cover - that's the pity of having pirated music ;) was not helpful at all.

actually you showed a lot with that (especially since the front and back cover don't/didn't show your elf- that had me scratching my head for a bit :)

made me think also it had to be inside/inner

importance of keeping a word list as you learn about your subject
the word you dug out:

"Summoning" booklets
summoning stronghold booklets

its in several more places too depending where and what you ask/ at

anyway just tryin to show how your keywords found it for me too, and too comment on practicing looking for images that you already know where they are because in lots of cases you won't find them heheh

i am thinking though what you are asking is where is michaels old-archive- gallery with a larger pic of it?

(hey did notice googleimage now asks if you want LARGE Medium small??
some more filename identifiers in the LARGE ones

gottah go - great post Mordred!

Petit image

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