Search tools: Too simple or too complex

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I’ve just had a look at a document from my esteemed colleagues from the UBiT 2010 project; it contained a statement that I’m sure many of you will recognize: “Search tools are either to simple or too complex”. This is obviously true, but I wonder if we shouldn’t rephrase this: “search tools aren’t intelligent enough”.

Intelligence is important, especially in designed systems (are there any other kind?), and we need to realize that help-on-demand and help-in-hand are good solutions for complex systems. Making search intelligent is something that Google has to some extent achieved with its algorithms for query interpretation. I certainly don’t think that Google has everything right and I certainly don’t think that library database providers can learn everything they need to know from Google, but they show one way of adding intelligence to a system.

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