On May 30, 2006, at 5:34 PM, K.G. Schneider wrote:
> Sorry if I overreacted to the "featuritis" comment--I live and die
> by search
> these days... I've already had to explain to more than one
> stakeholder why
> we can't just use Jimbob's Crapola Indexer or whatever.
Let's not confuse the functionality of an indexer/search engine with
the functionality of a search interface. An indexer is used to find.
The finding process can be enhanced with features that are not a part
of the indexer. Spell checking is one of those features. The
exploitation of a thesaurus is another. Thus, creeping featuritis.
By exporting the words from an index and feeding them to a dictionary
you can capture queries to the user interface, enhance the interface,
reformulate the query, and then send it on to the search engine.
Spelling correction is not a feature of the indexer/search engine,
but it is a feature of the user interface.
Similarly, exploiting a thesaurus (an authority list, a controlled
vocabulary, or whatever you want to call it) works in the same way.
Use it to reformulate and/or suggest alternative queries to be
applied to the index. Thesauri are not an integral part of the
indexer, per se, but the interface as a whole. Faceted browsing is
just fancy way of using controlled vocabularies to access the content
in the index.
Boolean operators, fielded searching, phrase searching, and relevance
ranking are a part of indexers/search engines, but just because they
work against the indexer does not mean you use their particular
syntax in the user interface. Yet again, you create the interface and
translate that into the language of the indexer/search engine. (That
is *really* what Z39.50 and SRW/U are for.) Not the other way around.
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