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Searching the NY Times

2009/03/03

This was posted over at information aesthetics earlier. It’s an experimental method of searching the NY Times archive using something called elastic lists. Basically, you have a few lists of items that you can select from and the combination dictates the stories that appear below. You can see the numbers of stories that fit the set, but you can only see the first few stories. It is experimental so we won’t hold that against anyone. 

What I’m wondering is this: how do you define the items in the lists and do we actually have to lead people through the search that way? Yes, there is a search box so you can drill down to a topic of your choice, but you’re still faced with selecting stories based on someone else’s terms. Is this where we have to rely on the semantic web to help us get to where we’re going? Or to somewhere we didn’t know existed? I’d love to see this type of search combined with the tag selector from delicious.

**Update – I would also like to see an implementation of either search style that includes OR rather than just AND. I’m sure that the AND operator is the most popular – does Google release that sort of data? That might be an interesting study, to examine operators and types of keywords.

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