How to search a Mailman archive.


Mailman is a popular mailing list program however there may be no provision to search the archives directly.
If the archives are public depending on how Mailman is set up the archives may be searched using search engines like Google.
The archives of a mailing list can contain valuable information that new members will miss out on if they cannot find it.
Private mailing lists are not open to Google so a work around is required.

The first step is to visit the archives of your mailing list. If it is private you will need your mailing list password.
The page you will see looks like this.

Mailman archive
Download each of the Gzipe'd versions and store them all in their own folder somewhere on your computer.On my computer this is done by right clicking on each file and using the "save link as" option and navigating to the destination folder. It is important that the files are in their own folder with no other files..

You now have all the archives and what is needed is a program to index the files for instant searches. You need something special because the files are in compressed format but a little free program called Wilma will do the job with aplomb in Mac, Linux and Windows.
Download and install Wilma from http://s3.amazonaws.com/redtree/wilma/en/help/index.html   
When you run Wilma you will see an uncomplicated interface. Wilma does not install tool bars and does not clog your computer with unwanted "features" she is just a smart indexing and searching program. Wilma is still in beta testing but I have encountered no problems using Wilma for searching a folder of Mailman archives.

Start Wilma.
The next step is to index the folder where you stored the archives.
Press FILE and select NEW INDEX  give the index a name. 
In the index properties ROOT PATHS (tab)  press BROWSE and navigate to the folder containing the archives.
Click on the folder and its path will show in the display panel. Click on BUILD and in a few seconds you will see the indexing completed box.
Load the new index and you are ready to search.

Wilma search



Enter something in find and press ENTER. Read through Wilmas help file for more information.
You can narrow down searches with really smart commands. Below is a search for "casino" followed within 10 words by "bread".  The results appear instantly.
Press the "+" button on the tool bar to see more of an entry. You can navigate with the arrow keys on the tool bar or the ones on your keyboard.

Wilma example
You now have searchable archive and to keep it up to date you will need to occasionally add the latest files from the web archive.
Just add the new files to your dedicated folder and update the index with INDEX  ---    UPDATE and it is as simple as that.