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SSRN & Web Search - Search URL?

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Does anybody know how to set up the Web Search feature in Alfred to work with SSRN (Social Science Research Network)? For those unfamiliar with SSRN, it's website for sharing research (usually early drafts and things in the public domain). Unfortunately, while it's now owned by Elsevier, it's still probably the most used repository for pre-publication research papers.


When I run search either through its standard or advanced search pages, the search terms are not located in the URL. Unlike Google and other search-related websites, I also can't seem to find any documentation on its search API, etc.


For example, when I search for the terms "test search" using the advanced search, the search results are communicated through the following URL: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/results.cfm?RequestTimeout=50000000


Given these constraints, does anybody have any ideas for how to set up Alfred's Web Search feature with SSRN? Thanks in advance!

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2 hours ago, Jasondm007 said:

Given these constraints, does anybody have any ideas for how to set up Alfred's Web Search feature with SSRN?


Quick tip: Although some sites use POST for their search forms (so the parameters aren't in the URL), many also work if you add the parameters to the URL instead. Including this one:



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You need to view the source of the page and look for the name attribute of the search text entry box itself.  


In this case it's here:


<form class="header-search-form" id="searchForm1" action="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/results.cfm" method="post" target="_top" name="formQuickSearch">
<i class="icon icon-gizmo-search" role="button" aria-label="Search eLibrary"></i>
<input type="text" class="header-search-input" aria-label="Search eLibrary" placeholder="Search eLibrary" name="txtKey_Words" id="txtKeywords" required>
<input type="hidden" name="isQuickSearch" value="true">


Unfortunately with all the JavaScript cluttering most web pages, it's become a bit harder to reverse engineer searches this way compared to 10-15 years ago when the web was s lot cleaner.

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  • 2 months later...

@dfay @deanishe Sorry to bother you guys about this again, but it appears as though SSRN has updated its search form - breaking the Search URL used by Alfred (below):




Now, when searching, I get the usual page not found notice.


I tried looking at the code from the form, but it looks identical to what @dfay posted above (action, name, etc.).


Do guys have any idea what they might have changed and where I might look next? Thanks for your help!!

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Something's gotta be messed up on their end.  The URL above still works fine for my on Safari for iPad, where I tested it earlier.  But Safari for Mac produces the error message above. Same with Firefox for Mac.  I can even be viewing results on the iPad then use Handoff to open the same page on the Mac & get the error.


Strangely, you can enable the Developer menu then click

Develop > User Agent > Safari - iOS 11.0 - iPad 

and it will work.


Bizarre.  I'd email the site admin b/c I doubt they intentionally want the site to work only with Safari for iPad.


Or you can try this workflow and modify it to add your search or something:


Edited by dfay
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