Keep It Simple, Searcher

This post was written by Darcy Katzman on August 10, 2015
Posted Under: Features,Federated Search

Explorit Everywhere! supports all kinds of fancy search logic, such as Boolean operators, nested parenthesis and advanced search fields. Keep_it_Simple_(3340381990)This is a big selling point for organizations with researchers who want to search for a precise bit of information, retrieve a small result set, and then narrow that set of results even further with filters and sorts.

Serious researchers know where their information might be hiding, how to search for their information, and what search string may bump their information out of the source and into their lap. Using Explorit Everywhere! can save these researchers time and effort; one search across all of the resources they need to examine takes just a quick click of the search button.

Researchers familiar with a wide range of resources also know that some database search engines are stuck in the stone age. These engines simply do not process advanced logic such as parenthesis, wildcards, many advanced search fields or even Boolean operators. When researchers search these directly, they must use basic search strings to even retrieve results at all. For these engines, searching with broad queries, and iteratively searching and reviewing results is just part of the package. In contrast, a few modern search engines can handle extremely complex queries, replete with parenthesis, quotations, and Booleans and wildcards, handing the user a golden platter of relevant results.

Explorit Everywhere! usually includes both types of sources, with search engines supporting the very simple to the most complex queries. When a user submits a search string, Explorit Everywhere! must first evaluate the query. The resource connector, a bit of code that submits the query string from Explorit Everywhere! to the source, is programmed to “know” the source parameters and limitations. The connector acts as a proxy for the researcher by submitting the query to the resource, then retrieving the results for Explorit Everywhere! to rank against results from other sources. In many cases, the query string is submitted to the source exactly as it was entered by the user. In other cases, however, the query must be reshaped to make the string more acceptable to source idiosyncrasies. And, although Explorit Everywhere! connectors are very good at understanding how a source work and optimizing the query to submit to the source, there is only so much they can do when faced with a complex query and a Neanderthal source. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

To ensure consistent results retrieval, complex queries may not be the best place to start a search. If a complex search through Explorit Everywhere! yields results from only a few sources, researchers should consider rephrasing a query into simpler terms. To ferret information out of selected sources, including the more primitive sources, start with a simpler search to retrieve a broad results set from most or all of the selected resources.

Once the results are retrieved, researchers can view the whole playing field – all the results, across all of their resources. Starting from this vantage point, the informed researcher can narrow that field with laser precision, using filters, sorts, tabs and clustering, or iterate their search based on their initial findings.

Of course, users can still search with complex Boolean strings, taping together a montage of brackets and parenthesis with a patchwork of wildcards and quotations. Explorit Everywhere! will dutifully perform a search and no doubt return results, often with great success. For those elusive results, consider broadening the search query, and narrowing the results set after all sources have returned their results successfully. While this process may seem backward and less efficient initially, it ultimately delves deeper into those entrenched databases containing pertinent information.

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