Empty SERPs are pages with a purpose too.
"When users try a search and get no results, there’s a high risk of site abandonment. But paying attention to design details can turn this potential disaster into an opportunity for content discovery."
Cards, tags and organizing, the Google way.
"The idea is that each card is a single atomic contextual piece of information; essentially, a suggestion, a prompt, a call to action."
(Graham Hunter a.k.a. @MarketerGraham)
Like enterprise software applications, SERPs are the pages UX forgot.
"An effective site search tool is hugely important tool for ecommerce as it's a common way for shoppers to navigate sites and find products. In fact up to 30% of visitors will use the site search tool and these tend to be highly motivated shoppers who know exactly what they're looking for. The speed in which results are returned is very important, but there are also many other factors that influence the overall user experience and could be the difference between making a sale or losing a potential customer."
Search is less important than find and use. Engines are just level one.
"Search is evolving to fit the needs of users who don't just want a web site, but the actual answer to the question driving the search. To stay on top semantic search technologies are key."
With optimal design, search goes down, browse goes up.
"This crossover presents a challenge for site search: how do we meet the advanced needs of professional users without confusing members of the public who just want a simple answer? We can't rely on the page they searched from to define which type of user they are; some people expect to search only within that department, but others have landed in the wrong place and need to find the general results. One of our priorities for this project was to start making search better for advanced users, without getting in the way of less experienced users."
Search, find, and use. But then the fun part starts: the information experience.
"Findability is a constant theme in content strategy and technical communications, yet it seems to me that people often treat findability as a problem existing outside the content. Findability is addressed using SEO tactics and by devising sophisticated top-down navigational aids, such as taxonomies and faceted navigation, but it is seldom seen as issue to be addressed in the content itself. I believe this focus on top-down findability is wrong. Top-down finding aids have their place, but the majority of the focus should be bottom up, and it should start with the content itself."
Search, the most undervalued digital conversation.
"Search is a conversation: a dialogue between user and system that can be every bit as rich as human conversation. Like human dialogue, it is bidirectional: on one side is the user with their information need, which they articulate as some form of query."
This space metaphor gets really to its limits.
"Most users are unable to solve even halfway complicated problems with search. Better to redirect their efforts into more supportive user interfaces when possible."
Always pleasantly surprised when digital connects previously disparate disciplines and practices. Now, it's television et al. and the search, find, and use trinity.
"As a digital analyst, it's my job to study how technology disrupts business markets and models. As an aspiring social scientist, I also study technology's impact on culture and behavior. These two worlds are colliding with increasing velocity as each day passes. One of the trends I've been following over the last several years is the relationship between TV, smartphones, tablets and PCs."
Or what algorithms can learn from heuristics.
"User Experience plays an early, fundamental role in guiding basic decisions that shape websites and digital products, and is increasingly afforded a seat at the table, so to speak. The reason UX is such a juggernaut is because of the multiple disciplines it encompasses—design, information architecture, usability engineering, interface design, content strategy, and research. In spite of its relative youth, UX as a discipline has grown exponentially in stature over the last few years."
All the meta nodes in the conceptual layer explained.
Notes from Seth Earley's Confab Workshop ~ "(...) your table of contents, which somewhat expresses the hierarchy, order, and relationships within your information, helps the reader understand at a glance the whole of the information. Even if the user doesn't navigate his or her way through this sometimes maze-like TOC structure, not having the table of contents at all makes users uneasy. If you replace that table of contents with another sort of organization, something that doesn't express the semantic relationships of the information components, your users may feel lost."
The other is the most significant subject in your professional live.
"When we interact with web and intranet teams, we find many struggling to move beyond conceptual-level discussions on information organization. Hours on end are spent on discussing the meaning of "metadata", "controlled vocabulary" and "taxonomy" without any strategic understanding of how everything fits together. Being so bogged down at this level they fail to look beyond to the main reason for their pursuit—organizing information for others (the end users) so that they can find the information easily."
Tagging content, references or other BLOBs systematically is not for everybody an easy task. Most are just lazy.
"Although I've explored different strategies for findability, it seems that faceted classification through the attachment of metadata (such as tags) to resources remains the most compelling strategy. It can suit a diversity of audiences, purposes, and needs."
Finding nuggets in the dance between Ms. Browse and Mr. Search.
"(...) there are two kinds of people in the world: Searchers and Browsers. Searchers can browse when required, and Browsers can search when required. Neither is drawn to the other. (...) With these changes, both Browse and Search are improved, making everyone happy."
Adding some more buzz to the launch.
"Lou Rosenfeld's newest book, Search Analytics for Your Site: Conversations with Your Customers, has been the subject of more prelaunch buzz than most UX books have gotten this year. It seemed everyone was tweeting, talking, or speculating about it before the ink had even had a chance to dry. And, true to the hype, this book delivers in spades. If you read one book this year to hone your craft, add value to your UX practice, or enable you to help your clients, this is the one! Lou recently found some time in his very hectic schedule to sit down and talk with me about his book and the burgeoning practice of site search analytics (SSA)."
"To design better search and discovery experiences we must understand the complexities of the human-information seeking process. Numerous theoretical frameworks have been proposed to characterize this complex process, notably the standard model, the cognitive model and the dynamic model. In addition, others have investigated search as a strategic process, examining the various problem solving strategies and tactics that information seekers employ over extended periods of time. In this paper, we examine the needs and behaviours of varied individuals across a range of search and discovery scenarios within various types of enterprise. These are based on an analysis of the scenarios derived from numerous engagements involving the development of search and business intelligence solutions utilizing the Endeca Latitude software platform. In so doing, we extend the classic IR concept of information-seeking to a broader notion of discovery-oriented problem solving, accommodating the much wider range of behaviours required to fulfil the typical goals and objectives of enterprise knowledge workers."
"Any organization that has a searchable web site or intranet is sitting on top of hugely valuable and usually under-exploited data: logs that capture what users are searching for, how often each query was searched, and how many results each query retrieved. Search queries are gold: they are real data that show us exactly what users are searching for in their own words. This book shows you how to use search analytics to carry on a conversation with your customers: listen to and understand their needs, and improve your content, navigation and search performance to meet those needs."
"Expertise significantly impacts how we seek information online. Just as novice and expert photographers prefer different tools, so novices and experts behave differently when searching for information. Understanding these differences will help us design better search interfaces for both groups of users." (Tyler Tate ~ Boxes and Arrows)
"When I think about the banking industry, I'm reminded of the world of Search Engine Marketing. They too are trying to find weaknesses in a set of rules designed to level the playing field, in order to create a competitive advantage for their clients. It's just that rather than these rules being laid down by central government, they have been developed in the labs at Google." (Andy Budd ~ Blogography)
"(...) a summary of why findability becomes an issue for technical writers, and what the information paradox is that we encounter. Then, in an usual ethical twist, I’ll explain why findability might not actually be an issue." (Tom Johnson)
"So one thing I encourage people to do is to try to categorise the data in other words gee it seems like there is a lot of queries here about physical places, maybe our organisation has different offices or campuses or different buildings, look for things that seem to be people or different topics that emerge what you start doing is that you force yourself to get very close to the way users are thinking because you are looking at what their needs are, and actually it is a good way of looking at what sort of metadata your site ought to have and what kinds of content type people seem to be asking for and it might even help you do things like prioritise your next content migration because you start getting a sense of what are the really important content types that people seem to be requesting when they are searching so there are other things which you might delve into." (Boagworld)
"This paper details a way to extend classic information architecture for web-based applications. The goal is to enhance traditional user experiences, mainly based on navigation or search, to new ones (also relevant for stakeholders’ requirements). Examples are sense making, at a glance understanding, playful exploration, serendipitous browsing, and brand communication. These new experiences are often unmet by current information architecture solutions, which may be stiff and difficult to scale, especially in the case of large or very large websites. A heavy reliance upon search engines seems not to offer a viable solution: it supports, in fact, a limited range of user experiences. We propose to transform (parts of) websites into Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), based, beside other features, upon interaction-rich interfaces and semantic browsing across content. We introduce SEE-IA (SEarch-Enhanced Information Architecture), a coherent set of information architecture design strategies, which innovatively blend and extend IA and search paradigms." (Spagnolo, L., Bolchini, D., Paolini, P., & Di Blas, N. ~ Journal of Information Architecture No. 3)
"Today, we measure the size of the Web in exabytes and are uploading to it 15 times more data than we were 3 years ago. Technologies for sensing, storing, and sharing information are driving innovation in the tools available to help us understand our world in greater detail and accuracy than ever before. The implications of analyzing data on a massive scale transcend the tech industry, impacting the environmental sector, social justice issues, health and science research, and more. When coupled with astute technical insight, data is dynamic, accessible, and ultimately, creative." (Marissa Mayer)
"One problem I often hear when talking with any organization about new solutions is understanding the cost and inefficiency of their existing way solutions, processes, or general way of doing things. In the past year or two I have used various general measurements around search to help focus the need for improvement not only on search, but the needed information and metadata needed to improve search." (Thomas Vander Wal)
"The majority of people visiting a news website don't care about the front page. They might have reached your site from Google while searching for a very specific topic. They might just be wandering around. Or they're visiting your site because they're interested in one specific event that you cover. This is big. It changes the way we should think about news websites." (Stijn Debrouwere) courtesy of petermorville
"In this paper, we illustrate how Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), combining lightweight information architecture with advanced search paradigms (like faceted search) and interactive visualization strategies, can be used to better support a number of communication goals. The examples are taken from the new Web site for the Directorate General of Antiquity of the Italian Ministry for Culture Heritage (to become public in Autumn 2010), where both a huge amount of content (the Italian archeological heritage) and a variety of users’ profiles (from scholars to amateurs and tourists) are managed." (Stefano De Caro, Nicoletta Di Blas, and Luigi Spagnolo ~ Museums And The Web 2010) courtesy of petermorville
"This month's column covers strategies for making people more aware of the filtering options that are available to them, as well as methods of improving transitions between the various states a user encounters in a search user interface." (Greg Nudelman ~ UXmatters)
Interview with Peter Morville about his new book Search Patterns - "(...) I'm a skeptic when it comes to grand visions of The Semantic Web. In narrow domains such as medicine, we can develop thesauri (or 'ontologies') that define terms precisely and map hierarchical, equivalent, and associative relationships. But these approaches simply don't scale, and they can't keep up with the rapid evolution of language and knowledge." (Bridgeline Digital)
"Thinking of porting your Web finding experience to iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile? Just forget about the fact that these devices are basically full-featured computers with tiny screens. Having gone through this design exercise a few times, I have realized that designing a great mobile finding experience requires a way of thinking that is quite different from our typical approach to designing search for Web or desktop applications. To put it simply, designing a mobile finding experience requires thinking in terms of turning limitations into opportunities. In this column, I'll discuss some of the limitations of mobile platforms, as well as the opportunities they afford, and share a few design ideas that might come in handy for your own projects." (Greg Nudelman - UXmatters)
"Search is the Web's most powerful and frustrating tool. It's the conduit to unfathomable amounts of information, yet it requires a fair degree of user education to reach its full potential. It's odd that something so important is so hard to harness. And it's not going to get easier anytime soon. We may think of search as static and mature because we've used those ubiquitous boxes for years. But it's a tool in flux. Developments in mobile, augmented reality, and social graphs -- to name a few -- signal big changes ahead." (Mac Slocum - O'Reilly Radar)
"Search, search, search. Everyone is talking about search these days. Bing, semantic search, site search. That's all you hear. Don’t get me wrong: search is wildly important to our daily experiences on the web. I’ve written a bit on search on this blog. (...) But at the same time were seeing a lot of new products and interfaces that offer enhanced online browsing experiences. Browsing it totally underrated, I believe. What's more, looking broadly across human information behavior, we see that browsing is more than an accident, impulsive activity–it's not just aimless surfing." (James Kalbach - Experiencing Information)
"It is my pleasure to report on the 3rd Annual Workshop on Search in Social Media, a gathering of information retrieval and social media researchers and practitioners in an area that has captured the interest of computer scientists, social scientists, and even the broader public." (Daniel Tunkelang)
"Search is among the most disruptive innovations of our time. It influences what we buy and where we go. It shapes how we learn and what we believe. This provocative and inspiring book explores design patterns that apply across the categories of web, e-commerce, enterprise, desktop, mobile, social, and real time search and discovery. Using colorful illustrations and examples, the authors bring modern information retrieval to life, covering such diverse topics as relevance ranking, faceted navigation, multi-touch, and mixed reality. Search Patterns challenges us to invent the future of discovery while serving as a practical guide to help us make search applications better today." (Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender)
"This mantra has been one of my favourites for a good 7 years now. Working with a range of companies, charities and individuals, and having been in many board rooms, held live events, and developed digital strategy, I can certainly say it's true. I'm not trying to brag here, but point out through experience I've learned that Experience itself is a big a deal. The other people who know how big a deal experience is are restaurant owners. They know that it's not only the food they serve that people are paying for – it's everything else that goes with it – and the things that go before and after it." (Search Engine People Blog)
"Historically I had been taught and understood search and browse as distinct elements – which they are visually and from a UI elements standpoint – but from a behavioral perspective, they really are not, rather, they are part of a continuum. A spectrum of discovery behaviors if you will." (Livia Labate)
"Information retrieval did not begin with the Web. In response to various challenges of providing information access, the field of information retrieval evolved to give principled approaches to searching various forms of content. The field began with scientific publications and library records, but soon spread to other forms of content, particularly those of information professionals, such as journalists, lawyers, and doctors. Much of the scientific research on information retrieval has occurred in these contexts, and much of the continued practice of information retrieval deals with providing access to unstructured information in various corporate and governmental domains, and this work forms much of the foundation of our book." (Christopher D. Manning, Prabhakar Raghavan, and Hinrich Schütze 2008)
"Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned." (Derek Powazek) - courtesy of markbernstein
"The technology of information retrieval systems continues to evolve, and in particular, the technology of search has continued to evolve. A new stage in the evolution of search has arrived with the advent of entity-based searching. This paper provides a brief review of some of the earlier stages of search evolution in the context of the evolutionary pressures of the concurrent improvement of both precision and recall." (John D. Holt and David J. Miller - ASIS&T Bulletin October/November 2009)
"(...) be wary of the standard reports that come with your analytics application. They certainly have value, but these reports also provide a false sense of security—as if they were designed with your needs in mind. Nothing could be farther from the truth: Top-down, goal-driven analytics should be centered on your KPI, and your organization’s goals aren't the same as everyone else's." (Louis Rosenfeld - A List Apart 292)
"Faceted search user interfaces are fairly new, and potential design pitfalls abound. Fortunately, there are a few relatively simple and straightforward design best practices that should help designers to minimize cognitive friction and create search user interfaces that are easy to understand and use." (Greg Nudelman - UXmatters)
"Search is an integral part of peoples' online lives; people turn to search engines for help with a wide range of needs and desires, from satisfying idle curiousity to finding life-saving health remedies, from learning about medieval art history to finding video game solutions and pop music lyrics. Web search engines are now the second most frequently used online computer application, after email. Not long ago, most software applications did not contain a search module. Today, search is fully integrated into operating systems and is viewed as an essential part of most information systems." (Marti A. Hearst)
"(...) for most users of consumer-facing ecommerce applications, the difference between a sort and a filter presents a mystery they understand dimly, if at all. The distinction between sorting and filtering blurs, because of a phenomenon I've called filtering by sorting, which leads to all sorts of interesting search user interface implications." (Greg Nudelman - UXmatters)
"(...) the search engine taste test. Type in a search query above, hit search then vote for the column which you believe best matches your query. The columns are randomised with every query. The goal of this site is simple, we want to see what happens when you remove the branding from search engines. How differently will you perceive the results? - I work for Microsoft. This site is not affiliated with my employer, it is not a Microsoft initiative, it's simply me having fun in my spare time." (Michael Kordahi) - courtesy of rnagtegaal
"The biased coverage of Google and Live Search raises concern because of their international nature. The coverage bias by the European search engines only seems to have local or regional significance." (Ari Pirkola - Information Research 14.2)
Folksonomies, findability, and the evolution of information organization - "Folksonomies have emerged as a means to create order in a rapidly expanding information environment whose existing means to organize content have been strained. This paper examines folksonomies from an evolutionary perspective, viewing the changing conditions of the information environment as having given rise to organization adaptations in order to ensure information “survival” — remaining findable. This essay traces historical information organization mechanisms, the conditions that gave rise to folksonomies, and the scholarly response, review, and recommendations for the future of folksonomies." - (Alexis Wichowski - First Monday 14.5)
"Faceted search lets users refine or navigate a collection of information by using a number of discrete attributes – the so-called facets. A facet represents a specific perspective on content that is typically clearly bounded and mutually exclusive. The values within a facet can be a flat list that allows only one choice (e.g. a list of possible shoe sizes) or a hierarchical list that allow you to drill-down through multiple levels (e.g. product types, Computers > Laptops). The combination of all facets and values are often called a faceted taxonomy. These faceted values can be added directly to content as metadata or extracted automatically using text mining software." - (Stephanie Lemieux - User Interface Engineering)
"The premise is that people don't want to search. Instead, people want to get their tasks done and get straight to their answers. So how to we do this? We move from a web of pages to a web of objects. People, places, businesses, restaurants are all objects that have attributes such as noisy or expensive (in the case of restaurants.) Intents of searchers are satisfied by presenting objects and attributes. It's not exactly the semantic web but about finding implicit relations through web usage." - (Ricardo Baeza-Yates - The Next Web)
"People use Twine to keep track of their interests. Twine is a new way for you to collect online content – videos, photos, articles, Web pages, products - and bring it all together by topic, so you can have it in one place and share it with anyone you want." - (About Twine)
"Page layout forms the foundation in presenting search results. Your layout decisions for search results pages will have tremendous impact on the user experience for your entire site. Choosing the right width for search results is important, and the optimal width for search results may be a great deal narrower than some people using big monitors would believe." - (Greg Nudelman - UXmatters)
"Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products & User Experience at Google recently delivered a fascinating Keynote at the Google I/O Developers Conference. She shares a heap of interesting nuggets, from the reason why they chose 10 search results as default, and why they chose a yellow background behind their ads as opposed to the industry favored blue." - (TheNextWeb)
"Now a new breed of technologies is taking shape that will extend the reach of search engines into the Web’s hidden corners. When that happens, it will do more than just improve the quality of search results — it may ultimately reshape the way many companies do business online." - (Alex Wright - NYTimes) registration required
"The important thing to remember here is that search should be a key consideration at every stage of the process, whether it is selecting a provider, setting requirements, producing comps, coding or site deployment." (Rob Garner - MediaPost) - courtesy of janjursa
"Kuhlthau’s model of the Information Search Process was developed in the 1980s and refined in the 1990s. Since its conceptualization and development, the model has been used as a framework and diagnostic tool for understanding the information search experience of people in a variety of library and information settings. These information environments and services have not remained static, particularly with rapid advances in and impacts of information technology. Therefore, questions arise regarding the current usefulness of the model in light of the developments in the information environment to date. This paper seeks to explore whether the model still is a useful, insightful explanation of information seeking behaviour. This question is examined through a literature review of recent work applying the model and presents findings from a research study that explored the model within a school context." (Carol C. Kuhlthau et al. - ISIC08 via Information Research 13.4)
"Deep Search wants to look at the social and political dimensions of how we navigate the deep seas of knowledge. We want to examine the pursuit of categorizing that data and what it means to relate to the world through digital search technologies. Futuristic applications and computational complexity aside, cognitive technologies deliberately designed to yield results in a limited frame of reference, imbed political philosophy in seemingly neutral code. In the daily reality of information overflow it is crucial to acknowledge both arbitrariness and willful designation, and that hierarchies are not miraculously produced by nature itself. Innocent utilities that blend into the routine of everyday work and leisure subtly bend our perception, and weave threads into the fabric of cognitive reality." (World-Information Institute)
"Search engine researchers typically depict search as the solitary activity of an individual searcher. They hardly ever talk about the social interactions that occurs around search. I think this is just plain wrong." (Augmented Social Cognition)
"The ASIS&T 2008 IA Summit, Experiencing Information, emphasized users who want to know, do or share something. A user experiences information by creating, organizing, browsing and searching for information. These actions contribute to the notion of exploratory search that can be described as an information process in which the importance of a search system’s query-document matching power is diminished in favor of the user assuming a more assertive role in making decisions about the search results and the next steps toward fulfilling their information needs. A straightforward and common way to distinguish an exploratory search system is to examine the presentation of search results. Typically some browsing facilities to supplement or replace the popular list-based result pages are introduced and they feature grouping as a primary mechanism for search result display." (ASIS&T Bulletin 34.6)
"(...) with respect to guided navigation, we should distinguish between clarify and refine. First, we must clarify the meaning or context. Are we in the right ballpark regarding the searcher's intent? Clarify is all about disambiguation. Then, we're ready to refine or narrow. Exactly what type of widget do you want? Refine is about increasing specificity." (Peter Morville - Findability)
"Exploratory search research opens new opportunities for information architects to grow the profession. Research discoveries are unleashing profound enhancements in search engine technology. To increase the value of the findings of the research on exploratory search, information architects need to explore new methods and approaches to designing information displays for expert systems. As professionals, we need to exert more influence over the devices, appliances and software that govern the production of content. Enhancements to the production of content will cyclically increase our understanding of designing information solutions for experts, adding additional value to the user interfaces designed for less expert solutions." (Mark Nolan - ASIS&T Bulletin April/May 2008)
Louis Rosenfeld's workshop slides on site search analytics - "During the workshop, I'll also be demoing and leading three hands-on exercises. So I hope you UXers out there will take me at my word; there's something to site search analytics." (Louis Rosenfeld - Bloug)
"Although Findability had a closely knit family, he felt like an orphan, because his siblings always seemed to get the lion's share of time and attention from the folks in the web design agency." (Aarron Walter - A List Apart)
"Web search engines have emerged as ubiquitous and vital tools for the successful navigation of the growing online informational sphere. As Google puts it, the goal is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and to create the “perfect search engine” that provides only intuitive, personalized, and relevant results. Meanwhile, the so–called Web 2.0 phenomenon has blossomed based, largely, on the faith in the power of the networked masses to capture, process, and mashup one’s personal information flows in order to make them more useful, social, and meaningful. The (inevitable) combining of Google’s suite of information–seeking products with Web 2.0 infrastructures – what I call Search 2.0 – intends to capture the best of both technical systems for the touted benefit of users. By capturing the information flowing across Web 2.0, search engines can better predict users’ needs and wants, and deliver more relevant and meaningful results. While intended to enhance mobility in the online sphere, this paper argues that the drive for Search 2.0 necessarily requires the widespread monitoring and aggregation of a users’ online personal and intellectual activities, bringing with it particular externalities, such as threats to informational privacy while online." (Michael Zimmer - First Monday 13.3) - courtesy of petermorville
"A sandbox for collecting search examples, patterns, and anti-patterns. Please add tags, notes, and comments, and suggest new examples. Over time, I hope to add patterns that illustrate user behavior and the information architecture of search." (Peter Morville - Findability)
"Where as the previous generative qualities reside within creative digital works, findability is an asset that occurs at a higher level in the aggregate of many works. A zero price does not help direct attention to a work, and in fact may sometimes hinder it. But no matter what its price, a work has no value unless it is seen; unfound masterpieces are worthless. When there are millions of books, millions of songs, millions of films, millions of applications, millions of everything requesting our attention -- and most of it free -- being found is valuable." (Kevin Kelly - The Technicum)
"Search behavior is the result of interplay among several independent factors the user brings to the search operation, six of which are described (...). Designers have no more control over these than they have over the color of the user's hair." (John Ferrara - Boxes and Arrows)
"Advanced search is the ugly child of interface design -always included, but never loved. Websites have come to depend on their search engines as the volume of content has increased. Yet advanced search functionality has not significantly developed in years. Poor matches and overwhelming search results remain a problem for users. Perhaps the standard search pattern deserves a new look. A progressive disclosure approach can enable users to use precision advanced search techniques to refine their searches and pinpoint the desired results." (Stephen Turbek - Boxes and Arrows)
"The highlight of the Searchnomics 2007 conference was a keynote, at the very end, by Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products & User Experience at Google. She covered eight areas Google is focusing on now and in the near future." (Nitin Karandikar - Read/WriteWeb)
"Ask anyone which search engine they use to find information on the Internet and they will almost certainly reply: "Google." Look a little further, and market research shows that people actually use four main search engines for 99.99% of their searches: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask.com (in that order). But in my travels as a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO), I have discovered that in that .01% lies a vast multitude of the most innovative and creative search engines you have never seen. So many, in fact, that I have had to limit my list of the very best ones to a mere 100." (Charles S. Knight - Read/Write Web)
"Ergonosearch is a vertical search engine about accessibility and usability, indexing only selected quality resources: articles and expert blogs, research papers, specialized lists and forums, official specifications and guidelines." (Sébastien Billard)
"Search is a subject that I've always been interested in. Especially internal or enterprise search, within a site. Not web search like Google or Yahoo!. Sure there's lots of search engine optimization (SEO) or marketing (SEM) tricks you can do to improve your ranking in the web search engines. But that's never really held any fascination for me." (Chiara Fox - Adaptive Path)
"For a while I have been thinking of different ways of supporting finding information with tags that go beyond tag-clouds. There are three trends that are worth pointing out. The first is faceted browse interfaces, the second is algorithm driven approaches like clustering and recommendations (often driven by collaborative filtering), and the third possibility is one that is native to tag based systems - and can be termed 'pivot browsing'." (Rashmi Sinha)
"Activity theory is not a predictive theory but a conceptual framework within which different theoretical perspectives may be employed. Typically, it is suggested that several methods of data collection should be employed and that the time frame for investigation should be long enough for the full range of contextual issues to emerge. Activity theory offers not only a useful conceptual framework, but also a coherent terminology to be shared by researchers, and a rapidly developing body of literature in associated disciplines." (T.D. Wilson - Information Research 11.4)
Search is a conversation, a marketplace, mostly friction, and not discrete. - "A 'video' by John S. Rhodes revealing the future of search, why failure drives success for Google and Yahoo, and how search ultimately molds the way we act, feel and think. You can download Part I of Found and Lost, 15 minutes long, absolutely free." (John Rhodes - UX Reports)
"In a world where people have so little attention to give, we must help people find what they want when they want it—when they are interested. We must shift from push to pull so people can pull things when we want it." (Mike Moran - Biznology) - courtesy of keithinstone
"Any organization that has a searchable web site or intranet is sitting on top of hugely valuable and usually under-exploited data: logs that capture what users searching for, how often each query was searched, and how many results each query retrieved. Search queries are gold: they are real data that show us exactly what users are searching for in their own words. This book shows you how to use search analytics to carry on a conversation with your customers: listen to and understand their needs, and improve your content, navigation and search performance to meet those needs." (Rosenfeld Media)
"The words people type into a search box are not always the words they like to read when they click on the search result." (Gerry McGovern)
"Peter Morville, co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web with Lou Rosenfeld and author of Ambient Findability, presented a very informative day-long lecture on the subject of information architecture (IA). He discussed many basic concepts as well as best practices, so his presentation would appeal to both beginner and intermediate IAs." (Russell Wilson - UXmatters)
"This paper considers information safety and accuracy in the digital age using Google as an entry point. In doing so, it explores the role media play in shaping the relationship of information, privacy, and trust between Google and the public. This inquiry is undertaken using framing theory to guide a content analysis of the way Google is presented in New York Times articles from a two–year period ending in November, 2005. Analysis of the extensive coverage of Google’s share price and earnings reports leads to the conclusion that trust in Google is fostered in part simply by reports of its fiscal success. To the extent that this is true, meaningful public debate about information policies is inhibited." (Lee Shaker- First Monday 11.4)
The Search for Search - "The purpose of the SDForum Silicon Valley Search SIG is to offer a communication and collaboration platform to the Search ecosystem: search engines, marketers/advertisers, users and developers. Through a series of monthly events, the SIG will cover a large diversity of topics: from the latest developments in search to the needs of brands and advertisers, through the issues and key learnings of starting, funding, building, and exiting a search company." (About the Search SIG)
Also, including a conversation with Peter Morville at SXSW 2006 Studio SX - "At the crossroads of ubiquitous computing and the Internet, the user experience is out of control, and findability is the real story. Access changes the game. We can select our sources and choose our news. We can find who and what we need, when and where we want. As society shifts from push to pull, findability shapes who we trust, how we learn, and where we go. In this thought-provoking talk, best-selling author Peter Morville explores the future present in mobile and embedded devices, GPS and RFID technologies, search algorithms, findable objects, evolutionary psychology, and the long tail of the sociosemantic web." (SXSW 2006 Interactive)
"Findability is the quality of being locatable or navigable, and 'ambient' means surrounding, encircling, and enveloping." (Bruce Stewart - O'Reilly ETech)
The 2005 John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award Winner - "This paper reports on a study exploring the environmental factors that influence users' information seeking at home." (Soo Young Rieh)
"Design on the web has changed a lot since the mid 1990's. Not only has the language used to create pages expanded, but so has the capability of browsers, and the availability of bandwidth. Consequently pages have gradually carried more and more content, and designers, information architects, and HTML developers have faced the challenge of presenting increasingly sophisticated information and marketing messages onto the computer monitors in homes and offices around the world." (Mark Belam - currybetdotnet)
"This article explores one question: what does Internet searching have to do with personal development? Personal development means that individuals improve their own abilities, skills, knowledge or other qualities by working on them. The paper reports on a qualitative case study, in which a single participant was interviewed and her Web searches observed. Information search strategies seemed to form a spectrum of developmental sophistication. Four major types of relationship were found: a) the Internet in the context of development; b) development in the context of the Internet; c) development affecting Internet use; and, d) Internet use affecting development. There were some informational phenomena which exhibited regression, the converse of development." (Jarkko Kari - First Monday 11.1)
Read the Comments - "Read 'Ambient Findability' if: you are interested in expanding your business or nonprofit through its presence on the Internet; you are a librarian and want to grow into the nontraditional environment of the Web; you are a Web designer and want to optimize the findability of your sites on the Internet; you are a user and want to enhance your searching experience. Read this book if you are a teacher, a student, a writer, a parent... in short, if you use a computer or a handheld or a GPS or a smartphone or any type of technology that connects you to the world, then you should read this book. Peter Morville's 'Ambient Findability' will amaze and delight you. It will give you new insight into how ubiquitous computing is affecting how we find and use information and how we, as users, can and will shape the future of how data is stored and retrieved." (Slashdot.org)
Finding information on the free World Wide Web: A specialty meta-search engine for the academic community
"The Web is continuing to grow rapidly and search engine technologies are evolving fast. Despite these developments, some problems still remain, mainly, difficulties in finding relevant, dependable information. This problem is exacerbated in the case of the academic community, which requires reliable scientific materials in various specialized research areas. We propose that a solution for the academic community might be a meta–search engine which would allow search queries to be sent to several specialty search engines that are most relevant for the information needs of the academic community. The basic premise is that since the material indexed in the repositories of specialty search engines is usually controlled, it is more reliable and of better quality." (Yaffa Aharoni et al. - First Monday 10.12)
"The term ambient findability describes a world at the crossroads of ubiquitous computing and the internet, in which we can find anyone or anything from anywhere at any time. It's not necessarily a goal, and we'll never achieve perfect findability, but we're surely headed in the right direction. A clear sign of progress is the emergence of ubiquitous findable objects. GPS, RFID, UWB, and cellular triangulation enable us, for the first time in history, to tag and track products, possessions, pets, and people as they wander through space and time." - (Peter Morville - O'Reilly Network)
"It's a rollercoaster of concepts. - (...) I'm not sure who coined the term 'findability', but I am sure it wasn't me." - (Peter Merholz - Designing for the Sandbox)
Wilson, T.D. (2005). Review of: Battelle, J. The search: How Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture. Boston, MA, London: Nicholas Brearley Publishing, 2005. Information Research, 11 (1) - "Perfect search - every single possible bit of information at our fingertips, perfectly contexualised, perfectly personalized - may never be realized. But the journey to find out if it just might be is certainly going to be fun." - (Information Research 11.1)
"Now that it's so easy for people to search for anything in a fraction of a second and retrieve content buried in deep links thanks to Google and other high-speed tools such as MSN Search, is this creating a kind of laziness on the part of Web users?" (Garth A. Buchholz)
"You often search because you have poor memory. But, it isn't so poor that you are a blank slate, tabula rasa. No, instead, you have a clue and you are buying more clues with every search you do. Let’s cut to the core of this." (John Rhodes - WebWord)
"We have previously found the elderly users to face several usability problems with the current search engines. Thus, we designed an elderly–friendly search interface, Etsin. To evaluate the success of the design, a usability study was conducted for comparing the usability of Etsin and Google. The participants faced fewer usability problems when using Etsin than Google and they valued the clarity of the Etsin interface. In conclusion, elderly users benefit from a simplified search engine interface that is easy to understand and that takes into account age–related issues." (Anne Aula and Mika Käki - First Monday 10.7)
"The title tag is critical. It's important not to overcomplicate your design and technical approach with things such as Flash, Java, frames and dynamically built websites." (Gerry McGovern)
"(...) in 10 years, we will look back on todays search interfaces and recognize them as a simple and limited way to interact with information. After all, she explains, a 5-inch-long rectangle with a long list of text results beneath it doesnt do much to help people make sense of the billions upon billions of unorganized bits of data in the world." (Susan Dumais - Microsoft Research) - courtesy of usability in the news
"Search optimization is about getting links. The more links you get to your website, the more likely you are to get into the first page of search engine results." (Gerry McGovern)
"Search optimization focuses on how people search. Search engine optimization focuses on how search engines work. Search optimization sees quality web content as its foundation stone." (Gerry McGovern)
"We propose a new method to extract semantic knowledge from the World Wide Web for both supervised and unsupervised learning using the Google search engine in an unconventional manner." (Rudi Cilibrasi and Paul M. B. Vitanyi - CWI, University of Amsterdam)
"Deluged with superfluous responses to online queries, users will soon benefit from improved search engines that deliver customized results." (Scientific American) - courtesy of ui designer
"For many years researchers in library and information science have borrowed theory from other fields to provide insight into our research findings. We are moving from this borrowed theory approach to creating a conceptual framework that has been tested, refined and adapted specifically for application in our field. The conceptual framework has developed rapidly during the past ten years with early signs of application in other fields." - Papers presented at the 5th Information Seeking in Context Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 1-3 September, 2004 (Carol C. Kuhlthau - Information Research, January 2005)
"The paper addresses the issue of how online natural language question answering, based on deep semantic analysis, may compete with currently popular keyword search, open domain information retrieval systems, covering a horizontal domain. We suggest the multiagent question answering approach, where each domain is represented by an agent which tries to answer questions taking into account its specific knowledge. The meta–agent controls the cooperation between question answering agents and chooses the most relevant answer(s). We argue that multiagent question answering is optimal in terms of access to business and financial knowledge, flexibility in query phrasing, and efficiency and usability of advice. The knowledge and advice encoded in the system are initially prepared by domain experts." (Boris Galitsky - First Monday January 2005)
"This is perhaps the Holy Grail of search, understanding what it is you are looking for and providing it quickly. The problem is that no one yet knows how to get there." (BBC News)
"Why is this huge? Because the biggest problem with search as it exists today is that users can't know what lies on the other side of that Submit button. It could be nothing, it could be just what they are looking for - how to know ahead of time?" (Brett Lider - every breath death defying)
Yahoo! Video Search beta
"Search for videos across the web." (Yahoo!) - courtesy of searchblog
"It is increasingly recognised in the modern enterprise that getting the processes of searching for and retrieving information right in a business can deliver a vital competitive edge. In a knowledge based economy employees who can't find vital internal information about their jobs are less productive, and with the advent of the web, potential customers who can't get straight to the information they need are only a click away from a competitor's site." (Martin Belam - currybetdotnet)
"This paper discusses the research into information seeking and its directions at a general level. We approach this topic by analysis and argumentation based on past research in the domain. We begin by presenting a general model of information seeking and retrieval which is used to derive nine broad dimensions that are needed to analyze information seeking and retrieval. Past research is then contrasted with the dimensions and shown not to cover the dimensions sufficiently. Based on an analysis of the goals of information seeking research, and a view on human task performance augmentation, it is then shown that information seeking is intimately associated with, and dependent on, other aspects of work; tasks and technology included. This leads to a discussion on design and evaluation frameworks for information seeking and retrieval, based on which two action lines are proposed: information retrieval research needs extension toward more context and information seeking research needs extension towards tasks and technology." (Kalervo Järvelin and Peter Ingwersen - Information Research, Vol. 10 No. 1, October 2004)
"With a theoretical limit on the amount of information we can possibly consume, finding the information both on the internet and on your own computers can be a daunting task. Recently, there's been a lot of attention on search." (Kevin Cheng - OK/Cancel)
"In the work reported here, we present a new way of performing fault-tolerant fulltext retrieval on large text corpora, such as scientific encyclopedias." (Wolfram M. Esser - Journal of Digital Information 6.1)
"Search engines are unreliable tools for data collection for research that aims to reconstruct the historical record. This unreliability is not caused by sudden instabilities of search engines. On the contrary, their operational stability in systematically updating the Internet is the cause. We show how both Google and Altavista systematically relocate the time stamp of Web documents in their databases from the more distant past into the present and the very recent past. They also delete documents. We show how this erodes the quality of information. The search engines continuously reconstruct competing presents that also extend to their perspectives on the past. This has major consequences for the use of search engine results in scholarly research, but gives us a view on the various presents and pasts living side by side in the Internet." (Paul Wouters et al. - First Monday 9.10)
"This article describes the journey from the conception of and vision for a modern search-engine-based search environment to its technological realisation. In doing so, it takes up the thread of an earlier article on this subject, this time from a technical viewpoint. As well as presenting the conceptual considerations of the initial stages, this article will principally elucidate the technological aspects of this journey." (Friedrich Summann and Norbert Lossau - D-Lib Magazine) - courtesy of chris mcevoy
"The current emphasis on content management is not about content management at all but rather about content publishing - and there is a difference. Organizations are aware of the problems in getting current, reliable information into an intranet but feel that their responsibility stops with building the repository and providing some templates for page display. Far too little attention is paid to the fact that unless people can find the information, the effort to add it to the repository and to make the look consistent is wasted." (Martin White - EContent) - courtesy of uidesigner
"Our finding (...) is that almost every site's search engine could use improvement. We also found that most organizations' Web teams couldn't really affect the quality of their search results - they were stuck tweaking search technologies that had already been purchased and installed. Often, the most dramatic change they could make was in the design of the search and results interfaces. In some cases, as the old saying goes, this was like putting lipstick on a pig. But cleaning things up does help users find answers to their queries." (Jeffrey Veen - Adaptive Path)
"Your search engine can make or break your site. This report with give you the tools you need to get search working." (Adaptive Path)
"Combining collaboration, tangibility and calmness, researchers at the University of Cambridge have harnessed the future to produce a search interface with a difference." (Ann Light - Usability News)
"We've written a script in PHP that you can add to individual pages or entire websites that will automatically highlight words in your page if the user has followed a link from a search engine results page." (Brian Suda and Matt Riggott - A List Apart)
"The mistake of building entire sites in Flash is not just an amateur's mistake - many leading Web designers, who are paid copious amounts of money, do the same thing. Sometimes the use of Flash is the only way to achieve a specific function (e.g. Web-based games), so you need Flash for that feature - but do you need it for the whole site?" (Alan K'necht - Digital Web Magazine)
"Metasearch promises to give patrons one-stop access to the many and various resources at the heart of the library digital collection." (Judy Luther - Library Journal) - courtesy of urlgreyhot
"Federated searching is a hot topic that seems to be gaining traction in libraries everywhere. As with many technologies that are rapidly adopted,there are some misconceptions about what it can do." (Information Today)
"Clearly, the rate of improvement in delivering high quality search results isn't keeping up with Moore's Law in terms of doubling every couple of years. In fact, the 'law of search results' could be expressed as an inverse to the growth in the size and complexity of the data." (Dan Farber - ZDNet)
"If you want to find information fast, you need search and retrieval technology. That is not news to people who have been interfacing with IT tools for the last decade. Even laypeople are familiar with recreational search engines, like AltaVista, used for exploring the Internet. Early on in its development, search made inroads into vertical markets like financial services and as an adjunct functionality embedded in KM and document management products." (John Harney - KMWorld) - courtesy of elearningpost
The Hague, The Netherlands (19-20 April 2004) - Available presentations in PDF (infonortics)
Metadata based search and browse functionality on the NSW Office of Fair Trading intranet: A Case Study
"The NSW Office of Fair Trading launched its first intranet in June 2003. At the very beginning of the intranet project we recognised that unless users could find information easily the intranet would not succeed. We also understood that different people prefer to find information in different ways. To maximise the chances of searchers finding relevant information, and to provide flexibility in search options, we developed and implemented metadata driven search and browse functions. This case study describes the standards, tools and technology we used and how metadata was manipulated to retrieve information in a number of different ways." (NSW Office of Information and Communications Technology) - courtesy of column two
"Read about how one would query to retrieve the longest word in the English language: is it 'floccinaucinihilipilification' (a possible answer) or possibly 'pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis' (a better answer?) According to Bill: These tasks will require systems that can determine what passages are saying and reason with the resulting knowledge, and they will require additional sources of knowledge and advancements in automated reasoning. An active research area devoted to question-answering is currently pursuing such goals." (W.A. Woods - Sun Microsystems Laboratories)
"We need to embed both people and information within a system that fits how people in the organization work, that understands the workflow and when the needs for information arise. People need to use information within the context of their jobs and their environment. It's not just the information that is vital to the organization. It's the exchange of information, the information within the context of the people and the situation of the moment that needs to be recorded and tracked so that when people disappear, the reasons why decisions are made remain behind." (Susan Feldman - KMWorld) - courtesy of john rhodes
"Having the right information at the right time is absolutely essential to one's business. 'Information is power!' or so the saying goes. But while information is a valuable resource, overwhelming information can pose a serious problem." (Tarchon)
"Much anecdotal evidence suggests that Google is the most popular search engine. However, such claims are rarely backed up by data. The reasons for this are manifold, including the difficulty in measuring search engine popularity and the multiple ways in which the concept can be understood. Here, I discuss the sources of confusion related to search engine popularity. It is problematic to make unfounded assumptions about general users’ search engine choices because by doing so we exclude a large number of people from our discussions about systems development and our understanding of how the average user finds information online." (Eszter Hargittai - FirstMonday 9.3)
"To find information, a reader uses either a search engine or the reader browses through metadata. The main difference between search engines and metadata lies in the quality of the links. A search engine offers you a lot of results, yet quite a few of the results refer to unusable information. Metadata cover only a small part of the available information yet the links refer to very useful information." (Marcel van Mackelenbergh)
"This series of essays on the construction, deployment and use of search technology (by which I mean primarily 'full-text' search) was written between June and December of 2003. It has fifteen installments not including this table of contents." (Tim Bray - Ongoing)
"The burn-out of the dot-com era left a smoldering envy of those few dot-commers that managed to stay alive. Google is foremost among these. If they can continue pulling in dynamic data from more and more sites, their dominance may well continue -- for access to dynamic data is indeed the key to the next big improvement in search." (Andy Oram - O'Reilly Developer Weblogs)
"Metadata is fundamental to persons, organizations, machines, and an array of enterprises that are increasingly turning to the Web and electronic communication for disseminating and accessing information." (Dublin Core Metadata Initiative)
"The more complex the enterprise, the greater the need to search among multiple sources, but the one- or two-word search used by most people 'doesn't give much complexity in the results (...)." (Jeff Morris - Transform Magazine) - courtesy of elearningpost
"If youíre reading this article in the hopes of learning how to get an adult site listed in the 'school supplies' category on Google, we kindly suggest you fall off the face of the earth. Any hate mail regarding this can be directed to email@example.com. It's due time to pay her back for all those 'petting zoo pictures' that manage to bypass my spam filtering system." (Brandon Olejniczak - A List Apart)
"Web search engines are beginning to offer personalization capabilities to users. Personalization is the ability of the Web site to match retrieved information content to a user's profile. This content can be set explicitly by the user or derived implicitly by the Web site using such user profile information as zip code, birth date, etc. (...) Our findings show that despite the high level of interest in Web personalization, most search engine Web sites currently offer no or limited personalization features." (Yashmeet Khopkar et al. - First Monday 8.7)
"Topical metadata have been used to indicate the subject of Web pages. They have been simultaneously hailed as building blocks of the semantic Web and derogated as spam. At this time major Web browsers avoid harvesting topical metadata. This paper suggests that the significance of the topical metadata controversy depends on the technological appropriateness of adding them to Web pages. This paper surveys Web technology with an eye on assessing the appropriateness of Web pages as hosts for topical metadata. The survey reveals Web pages to be both transient and volatile: poor hosts of topical metadata. The closed Web is considered to be a more supportive environment for the use of topical metadata. The closed Web is built on communities of trust where the structure and meaning of Web pages can be anticipated. The vast majority of Web pages, however, exist in the open Web, an environment that challenges the application of legacy information retrieval concepts and methods." (Terrence A. Brooks - Information Research 8.3) - courtesy of victor lombardi
"The corporate intranet is an organism that is at once very similar to and very unlike the Internet at large. A well-designed intranet (...) is perhaps the most significant step that corporations can make - and have made in recent years - to improve productivity and communication between individuals in an organization." (Ronald Fagin et al. - IBM Almaden Research Center) - courtesy of column two
"(...) the most common measures of search performance. But they're not as helpful as we'd like." (Tim Gray - Ongoing)
"The easiest way to increase your added value is to do small things that have a large positive return for the company. If youíre looking to find something easy to do that has a large positive impact on your value, look no further than thinking about search engines and how your portion of a Web site can be optimized for them." (Alan K'necht - Digital Web Magazine)
"Scientists in the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant's labs are experimenting with new types of search and user interface technology that will let individuals and businesses tap into the vast amounts of data on the Internet, or inside their own computers, that increasingly will be impractical or impossible to find." (Michael Kanellos - News.Com) - courtesy of nooface
Papers submissions of the CHI 2003 Workshop (CHI 2003) - courtesy of louis rosenfeld
"The effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which specified users can locate and relocate desired pieces of data or information in information dense environments." (IAWiki)
"Users are becoming increasingly aware that they need more efficient ways to find the information they need." (Whitney Quesenbery)
"This investigation is about the ordering and structure of the search fields themselves, not the results, which have been the topic of much discussion already." (Liz Danzico)
"If there were a beauty contest for search engines, Kartoo - developed in France by cousins Laurent and Nicolas Baleydier - would win the crown." (Contact KartOO)
"The goal of this study is to obtain a better understanding of social aspects of information retrieval in a variety of workplace settings." (UW Information School)
"The Semantic Web offers exciting possibilities for information retrieval." (G. B. Newby - Information Research 7.4)
"Dynamic URLs, with question marks and other punctuation, tend to put off search engine indexing robots, as well as humans looking at URLs." (Avi Rappoport - Search Tools)
"(...) users will more and more expect to be able to search automated information stores in ways that are comfortable and familiar to them." (Marcia J. Bates - Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of California of LA)
"Search engines are not very good at finding specific answers, they are good at matching words (...)" (SearchTools)
"(...) to discover a better method of presenting a large number of links on the home page" (Jon Dietrich et al. - SHORE)
"A Behavioral Model for Information Seeking on the World Wide Web" (James Kalbach - internetworking)
"Redesigned the front end to the psyberspace search engine" (Andy Edmonds)