Searching astro:name with YQL

Searching astro:name with YQL, originally uploaded by Eat your greens!.

The YQL team announced personal URLs for queries this week. I’ve used the new feature to set up a shortcut for looking up photos of astronomical objects by name. The URL is:

You can set the name parameter in the URL to change the name of the object you are looking for. I’ve also set up a demo page to render results from this query. The URL is:

Again, change the name parameter in the URL to lookup different objects. Note that it looks for an exact match with the astro:name machine tag, so looking up stars is cumbersome:αcyg)

Update: it seems Flickr’s machine tag search can match just the first part of a tag, so you can search for stars by supplying the first part of the tag’s value.

I’ve also made some changes to in order to enable faster searching by name. Use astro_name in a query to find objects by matching on astro:name:

select * from where astro_name = 'M 31'

or use text to run a Flickr text search across photo descriptions and titles:

select * from where text = 'orion'

If you want to see what values have been used for astro:name on Flickr, I recommend Paul Mison’s excellent machine tag browser.