Magazine article Online

Search Soirees. (the HomePage)

Magazine article Online

Search Soirees. (the HomePage)

Article excerpt

I am constantly struck by the difference between what people can do with search engines and what they actually do. It boils down to this: advanced search engine features go largely unused. It is the age not only of the one word search (regardless of the number of concepts envisioned), but also of the non-usage of helping features. Want a picture of something? Wouldn't you use the image-searching features of Google or Alta Vista? As information professionals, of course. But how many in the general populace understand either how to do this or when to do this. So they don't do it. They use the main search box of a general search engine, then they complain that it doesn't work. It didn't give them a picture.

Search engines measure their success on popularity. The more people who access the engine the better. It's market share that determines future direction rather than advanced searching capabilities. The advanced features are not a draw for the general public; only for the information professional. We are the ones who care about field searching, about how to use a search engine to learn what sites link to a site, and about how to ascertain the date a crawler actually visits a site. We are the ones who worry about how the engines really work. We deconstruct the engines. We can tell the difference between an advertisement and an information site. We understand what the search engines really mean when they tout their size, freshness, or relevancy.

Traditional search engines were designed for information professionals; Web engines for shopping. …

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