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Subject:
From:
Bart Van Roey <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Bart Van Roey <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Mon, 24 Feb 1997 00:29:21 +0000
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Hi Michael and all the other dear CHI-WEB subscribers,

>My colleague disagrees.  He believes that the search mechanism is an
>independently valid and appropriate navigation strategy, and its use
>should be seen as such.

Just my 2p: searching can always be useful, let the user decide and let us
learn from what he is looking for.

Fast searching in a large text can only be done in an electronic document.
We should use this advantage and offer a search engine to the users. At
SUN's site, the input field for the search engine (so not the button for
the engine, but the field itself) is on the home page, even at the top. It
shows,... no?

Browsing inside a site or trying to find info on a topic using a search
engine are two different strategies with both advantages and disadvantages.
Even when a site is well designed, you can save some time by searching for
a keyword. More over, there is a basic difference between a search and a
browse. It's like an encyclopedia: in a paper one, I can only look for the
specific lemma of a certain word, _no way_ I can do a full text search in
the entire encyclopedia. Although it would be useful to see where my word
pops up in other explanations. Some thing you can do in a flip second in
Grolier and other CD-ROM's.
In a news_paper_, no way to get a list of all the articles where my word is
used, on the newspapers internet site, if I'm lucky I can...

You know that you can search a site without them having a search engine no?
If they where visited by AltaVista, you can do an advanced search on
        host:<the host> and <your words>
You can also make an input field on your site to use AltaVista as your engine.

QUESTIONS
What would be a good search engine?
Any studies on usability of search engines?
Is the EXCITE freeware any good?

RELATED SITES
Michael Hoffman has a good article on tables of contents, indexes and
search engines:
        http://www.pdr-is.com/infoaxcs.htm    (is this site still online?)
Sun
        http://www.sun.com/
Excite
        http://www.excite.com/
AltaVista
        http://www.altavista.digital.com

Bart

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