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Indexed discovery services are a lot like Google: you can search simply and get results quickly, but the sources you are searching tend to be mysterious. Do you know if you are searching specialized sources or generic sources? Authoritative or with an agenda? When a researcher pushes the search button, they get whatever results are deemed relevant from whatever sources are included, and they can’t limit their search to only the sources that matter to them.
For some researchers, knowing the sources behind the search really makes no difference to them at all. To these researchers, often undergraduates, it’s the results that count. Most results nowadays do show the source, publication or journal that result is from. This makes it somewhat easier to eyeball a page of results, disregard those from irrelevant sources, or select results as appropriate if they are from an authoritative source. But that research methodology seems inefficient to say the least.
Serious researchers, on the other hand, want to know what they are searching. If they know that their information will most likely be in three or four specific resources out of the 20 or 30 their organization subscribes to, then why should they wade through a massive results list or spend one iota of extra time filtering out the extra sources to view their nuggets of information? (Quick answer, they shouldn’t.)
To begin to combat this resource transparency problem, libraries are creating separate web pages of source lists and descriptions for serious researchers. Who is the provider? What is the resource and what information exactly does the resource provide? These pages also include the categories of sources searched such as ebooks, articles, multimedia collections, etc. While these lists of resources are certainly helpful to document, is it fair to ask researchers to reference a separate web page to understand what digital content is included in their search, particularly when they are urgently trying to find something from a particular source of information? Or should we ask researchers to disregard knowing what sources they are searching and to just pay attention to the results? Neither of these seems appropriate in this day and age.
Most of us know the benefits of a single search of all resources. One search improves the efficiency of searching disparate sources, makes comparing and contrasting results faster, and provides an opportunity to save, export or email selected results. However, Explorit Everywhere! goes one step further by lending transparency of sources to researchers so they can search even faster. One of our customers mentioned that they moved from a well known discovery service because they were frustrated with all of the news results that were returned. It didn’t help that their researchers couldn’t select specific sources to search, particularly when their searches always seemed to bring back less than relevant results.
Explorit Everywhere! helps to narrow a search up front with not only the standard Advanced Search fields, but a list of sources to pick and choose from. A researcher looking to search in four different sources doesn’t want to run a search against 25 sources. They can narrow the playing field to hone in on the needle in the haystack faster. And from the results page, they can limit to each individual source to view only those results, in the order that the source ranked them. A serious researcher’s dream? That’s what we’ve heard.
Not all researcher’s care about drilling down into individual sources like this. But in Explorit Everywhere! the option is there to search the broad or narrow path. We even filter out the rocks.
In a future blog article we’ll talk about the other side of this question: What content am I missing?
Simon Bain, CEO of SearchYourCloud recently wrote an article for IT ProPortal, “The search continues: A history of search’s unsatisfactory progress.” In his article, Simon expands on a survey conducted by SearchYourCloud in which a third of respondents said they “spend between five and 25 minutes searching every time they want to find a document, while only one in five searches is correct the first time. The search for corporate information is eating into workplace productivity. Only 20 per cent of respondents reported first time successful searches. Other key findings from the survey include that it takes workers up to eight searches to find the right document and information, according to 80 per cent of respondents.”
Search, Simon comments, hasn’t really improved over the last 20 years. Companies such as Microsoft and Autonomy, while assuming the mantle of usable search through the acquisition of search veterans like Verity and FAST, actually focused their efforts on consultancy rather than on improving results retrieval.
The introduction of Big Data, however, has offered a twist to the information retieval conundrum. Piles of data, lots of repositories, different security levels and multiple devices all funnel down to researchers who must adapt their search to the search interface of the individual database or repository, meaning they are often searching databases one by one by one.
We call this serial searching, and it is hardly efficient. Add to this that not all researchers know where to look, know the search syntax of the databases they are searching, or have time to search all of their databases.
Luckily, federated search have arrived on scene, assessed the situation and now offer alternatives to serial searching.
“With the advent of federated search, the ability to search across multiple repositories has improved. Moreover, with federated de-duplicated results, users do not receive thousands of irrelevant documents or emails. Users can simultaneously search across applications. It is best to take a non-repository processing approach and keep the existing data silos separate. A large repository can be kludgy with inherent security risks and to combine multiple silos may create problems in reconciling different processing power and security levels.”
Deep Web Technologies’ customers see increased efficiency every day using Explorit Everywhere!, so we second Simon’s evaluation of how federated search improves the overall picture of modern search. Our customers tell us that they find exactly what they are looking for in seconds or minutes. We are constantly evaluating our efforts to rapidly return the right results from across multiple repositories. And as data grows, so do we.
Federated Search is still moving search along with it’s adaptable infrastructure. It’s like it was made for modern, dynamic, fast-growing data streams.
Customer stories are the lifelines of Deep Web Technologies. We revel in hearing how an unassuming
researcher shortened their workday and redirected their energy toward other tasks. Or how a Nursing Instructor had allotted an hour for an article search and his task was complete in sixty seconds! The story below comes from our friend Anita Wilcox at the University College Cork Library.
I met a friend of mine in the library last week who I haven’t seen for ages! In the course of catching up on gossip she told me that she was studying for a Health & Safety course in UCC and had been looking for a case report relevant to her group project. She had gone through all the printed law reports and had searched all the major law databases individually, but couldn’t find the case! So I gave her a one minute quick tour of Explorit Everywhere! (we call it Searcher here). She didn’t know the name of the case or when it was heard/reported. I showed her how to do an Advanced Search limiting only to law specific databases and using keywords, and then limiting to topics on the results screen. I was in a hurry, so I left. Within a minute I got a text from her saying she found the case! Now, that’s what I call a miracle! A whole day’s search was resolved within minutes by searching through Explorit Everywhere!.
Read more from Anita in her blog post on Why a Federated Search.
Our customers are often surprised that they can limit to specific sources or categories of sources to know exactly what they are searching. Researchers have control over their searches, rather than searching “everything” and wading through ambiguously ranked results, weighted to a publisher’s content. Explorit Everywhere!, through a transparent interface and search of information puts our researchers into the driver’s seat. It’s a powerful tool, for power-researchers.
At Deep Web Technologies we think that Explorit Everywhere! is the simplest way for researchers to perform a single search for results across their various information sources, find relevant results and seamlessly process those results. But it’s that final part – processing results – that DWT just made simpler for our researchers through our new MyLibrary feature. MyLibrary has evolved over the years from Citations Manager, to My Selections, and now to the more full-featured MyLibrary.
A better way to think of MyLibrary, however, is as your library – A place to store your digital results, reference and organize your data, or share information with others. It’s a place to build your research world.
Whether collaborative or solitary, your research can consume big chunks of time out of a day. If you’re moving fast, you may browse dozens of results rapidly and set some aside to explore further. Those results might hold some interest for you on a topic separate from what you are currently researching and you want explore them at a later date. They might be relevant, but need additional follow up. Or maybe your workday has ended, and you’ll resume researching again tomorrow. Whatever the reason, MyLibrary allows you to put your research on hold without missing a beat.
Your results can be filed away similar to organizing folders in a filing cabinet. Once you’ve selected your results, MyLibrary lets you tag and categorize those results in a system that makes sense to you. Reference those saved results whenever you want – they are there until you delete them. Just log in to your Explorit Everywhere! application and click MyLibrary. When you are ready, you can print, email or export any or all of those results from any folder, at any time.
Oh, and don’t think our ambitious engineers could resist tweaking a few other things while they were fiddling with MyLibrary in Explorit Everywhere!. Now, once you log in, you can save results preferences and language preferences in localized applications. Have an idea to make MyLibrary even better? Let us know!
In the United States, most of our public websites are in English. We’re used to searching, clicking to our result and reading the web page instructions, navigation and results in English. And, if we happen to run across a page that is in a different language, most browsers will translate the page to English so we can continue our research.
This on-demand approach works for random, public websites researchers encounter, but not for steadfast Explorit Everywhere! users who regularly use Explorit Everywhere! as their main search application to retrieve information from diverse sources. Researchers starting from Explorit Everywhere! should begin from a personalized application that notches up their level of comfort so that the tools and the sources are exactly what they need to find results quickly and efficiently.
For organizations with speakers of multiple languages, Deep Web Technologies offers both a localized user interface as well as multilingual translation capabilities. While they often go hand in hand, they are not always packaged together.
- A Localized User Interface displays text in a user’s native language, including navigational text, help text, menus and application tool and tooltips. Localization does not translate results. The localized language or languages are determined when an application is created. If there are multiple languages to choose from, a user can determine what they want to be their default localized interface language after they have logged in to an application.
- A Multilingual Application performs on-the-fly translations of results from the source language to a user’s preferred language. For example, English language sources of information will return English to the Explorit Everywhere! application, regardless of a user’s localized interface language. The multilingual feature will translate results from other languages into a selected language.
You can see why these two features may accompany each other in many applications; together, they provide a seamless search experience. However, user interface localization provides a level of user comfort to multilingual researchers regardless of what language the results return in. Navigating the search application, entering queries and browsing text is much easier and faster when performed in native languages.
Explorit Everywhere! supports seven major languages at this point: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. 2016 will expand localization options for Explorit Everywhere! applications by introducing support of Arabic right to left text.
A localized user interface creates a fluid research path, bypassing language barriers that may obstruct an intuitive search. To see an example of localization and multilingual translation, please visit WorldWideScience.org.
When we’re young and naive, we think that Google knows everything, from climate change to competitor data, from media impressions to military intelligence. If it’s not in Google, then we won’t find it anywhere. Thanks, and have a nice day.
This unfortunate misconception is the plight many libraries face today: How do you reclaim your library from the overpowering presence of Google? This question isn’t just a philosophical question. Authoritative sources of information that libraries subscribe to (yes, actually spend money on) are searched by uniformed researchers 16% of the time. This is a paltry number compared to 94% of researchers who will begin their search (and often complete their search) on Google or another generic search engine when looking for authoritative information.
Brainwashing powers aside, Google has captured researchers with speedy results that seem to be the “right” results every time. And, to give credit where credit is due, Google is an amazing, ever evolving search engine that is the perfect search for everyday queries. It also is an excellent place to start broad research that doesn’t need to be supported by vetted information.
But there comes a time when researchers outgrow Google…
Libraries are central to a researcher’s quests for knowledge. They should be a font of information, housing books, magazines and catalogs, and directing researchers to the external resources to fuel and deliver on these information requests. Maturing and expert researchers who realize that Google falls short of their information needs shouldn’t be limited by a library that isn’t vehemently countering the Google myth. A self-aware library will be asking these questions:
- How do we support our researchers in their quest for authoritative information?
- How can we make it simple for researchers to transition from Google to more authoritative sources?
- How do we ensure that our authoritative information sources are getting found and used?
- If we have a single search of all of our information sources, are they being ranked in an unbiased way (unlike Google with popular ranking)?
Google has made the search and retrieval process easy. Good search engines follow that pattern too – simple and elegant, yet robust.
If you’re a librarian facing Google encroachment in your libary, consider resurrecting yourself to a position of authority. Find a way to go the distance for your researchers.
What makes a search app easy to use? Lots of things, such as intuitive navigation, a sleek interface, tooltips, and…personalization. Sometimes spending the extra time making an app “yours” is exactly what it takes to make the app more “usable.”
For example, the first thing I do when I find a new start page or website that I’ll be using robustly every day is to personalize it. I add in the widgets that I know will help me out on my quest for efficiency. I change the colors to reflect my mood. I alter the text to cue me to next actions. When I tailor apps to my tastes, I inevitable use them more because they are more comfortable to use.
At Deep Web Technologies, we want our customers to feel comfortable with their Explorit Everywhere! applications. We tailor your application to your organization’s style, administrative and researcher’s needs – make it the search application your organization needs to use it comfortably and use regularly.
We have many customers who spend the time to tailor their applications to their researcher’s preferences or organization’s style.
Here’s an example of a unique customization recently implemented:
I had the opportunity to try it out. Within seconds, a librarian was online chatting with me. When done, I received a transcript of our conversation and was pleasantly surprised at the “human” element of the search page. VDOT had personalized their Explorit Everywhere! application in a way that created comfort, provided excellent service and immediately connected the user to the library.
“We were pleased that Deep Web Technologies was responsive to our need to integrate another vendor’s chat software into our federated search solution. We tested in a developmental environment first, saw no problems, and brought it into our live site right on schedule,” said Ken Winter, Associate Library Director, VDOT Research Library. “The result is that if our patrons using Deep Web have a question, they can initiate a live chat with library staff and get answers in seconds.”
Our customer successes are our successes. Whether it’s adding google analytics to track users, a custom thesaurus, plugging in different widgets for document delivery or a chat widget, we’ll help you to tailor your application so that your users can best take advantage of Explorit Everywhere! to find information quickly.
One little peek can’t hurt, can it? Well, although we’re bursting with excitement about our new features, we don’t want to spoil the surprise – here are just a few enhancements you’ll see in Explorit Everywhere! in 2016.
Part of our 2016 enhancements will focus on Explorit Everywhere! Multilingual (see WorldWideScience.org for an example of Explorit Everywhere! Multilingual). We’ll also be expanding user interface localization so that all text on the page automatically appears in the user’s selected language for a seamless search experience. This will include the Arabic language with full support of right to left display.
The Explorit Everywhere! visualization tools will have some new additions as well. Right now, we have the ever popular text and visual clusters in addition to topics and filters on metadata, authors, dates and formats. We’ll be adding faceted navigation to the mix, allowing you and your researchers to drill down even further into your results set. And, get ready for some new visual tools to aid the researcher.
Last, the MyLibrary feature (save, export or email results) will also allow you to save searches. Stay tuned for updates on this throughout the coming year.
Do you have suggestions for us to add to our list of future additions? Let us know and stay tuned for news as we unveil these features and more!
Join us for a no-cost webinar to experience our Explorit Everywhere! Medical solutions right at your desktop. This engaging and educational webinar, led by Abe Lederman, CEO of Deep Web Technologies, will give attendees a firsthand demonstration of how Explorit Everywhere! Medical provides you comprehensive, one-stop access to your most important medical literature through a more thorough search, automatic alerts, and customized search pages. Attendees will see how Explorit Everywhere! Medical is used at leading medical libraries.
Why should you attend?
A September 2015 study by Commonwealth Fund identified the struggle physicians have juggling insurance companies, new performance measurements and new technologies…all of which place patient care lower on the list of priorities. More and more medical organizations express concern over finding ways to efficiently address the changing healthcare landscape while staying true to their core purpose, one-on-one care.
Deep Web Technologies believes that our medical solutions will help. A Wolters Kluwer study in 2014 identified the top four information sources used by physicians: Professional Journals, General Search Engines (like Google), Colleagues and Online Free Services. Throw in clinical trials, ebooks, systematic reviews and drug resources and the amount of information available to medical staff can be overwhelming. With the number of activities on a physician’s daily punch list, research may mean going to the easiest, but not the most authoritative source to find information quickly (like Google), or delegating the task.
Medical organizations, hospitals and medical libraries must take advantage of new technologies that allow their researchers to find current information quickly and efficiently without spending much time learning how to do it. Deep Web Technologies’ Explorit Everywhere! Medical solution brings value to your organization by allowing you to search deeper, search more sources simultaneously, and to do that more effectively, without missing critical information.