« August 2005 | Main | October 2005 »

September 14, 2005

Google Search Appliance

I recently attended a meeting on the implementation of Google's search appliance (henceforth "GSA") on the University web. It provided an intriguing look into the information architecture of the University, and pointed out some possible future roles for the University Libraries.

Two features of Google's normal search find analogues in the GSA: the familiar targeted ads found at the top of the page, implemented as "KeyMatch (tm)", and the clustering words, known in GSA as synonyms. The former associates certain words with pages considered authoritative, and the latter allows you to associate words with each other (think the "see also" entries in a thesaurus). This is an extremely powerful feature, and one that can be used to guide searchers conceptually. It could also be combined with search log analysis to generate a sort of spelling suggestion device.

Along with Eric Celeste, I am pushing for a strong role for the Libraries, involving Technical Services at least in part, to advise, manage and/or consult on the creation of these two tools. More to come as discussion continue!