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NPTech Tag Mash-Up Saga Continues

Nptech_work_flow Beth Kanter has more on the ongoing NPTech Tag mash-up search, including a nice graphic of work flow.

And here's an interesting perspective on the value of search that isn't too relevant. Michael Shrage of MIT argues that when we're doing the kinds of learning and discovery searches for research that we often do, our notion of what's relevant in search results will expand and change as we go through each iteration of a search. We may go into a search with an idea of the kinds of results we want to get, but that idea will shift with our first results, which can tell us that maybe we want to go off on a tangent we hadn't considered.

Of course, if we're looking for something like a particular software review or the location of a store, we want highly relevant results. But many of our searches are research-based and greater creativity and innovation will be sparked by having search results that may initially seem less relevant. In other words, we need to leave some room for "irrelevancy" in the search process because we don't always know going into a search what will really be relevant to our initial research question.


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thanks for taking a deeper look at the Shrage video from Weinberg. I had tagged it,but didn't get a chance. The summary caught my eye. I think that's reason why collaborative search or social search can't be completely automated and will always to some extent need a human touch.

Don't know if you've read his work, but David Shenk describes a lot of this in his opus from ten years ago.

Need to think a bit more about it.

you know what - that was the value of cha cha - the search engine plus live guide

The Shrage video reminded me of Kathy Sierra's post on the need to build randomness into the user experience that I wrote about earlier this week. One of the issues we face in trying to get control over the info on the web is that any control we exert will influence how that information is perceived and used. How many happy accidents might we cut off if we get TOO controlled? Where's the balance between relevance and allowing for serendipity?

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