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The Search Papers: Bray on Search

By - December 08, 2003

Tim Bray has a series called On Search over at his Ongoing blog, and I find it worthy of a read’n’muse. He starts with this backgrounder on himself and search issues as he sees them, and has a ton of entries on any number of subjects, too numerous to go into here. Highlights: he writes on interface issues (warning, not for the faint of geek), how best to search XML (answer: we don’t know yet, recall he was a co-author of same), and on result rankings, with a quick refresher on why PageRank works, and good advice on paying attention to your own logs. Also worthy: his primer on how search works, and his discussion of the technical search terms precision and recall (with an interesting note on the absence of top companies in the research community – see my post on this here), and lastly (whew), his mini-rant on intelligent search, and why it’s a long way off. An excerpt:
“If we want better search (and we do), we’d better not count on AI voodoo or linguistic juju or semantic mojo. We need to work with good sound statistical techniques, and be clever about generating and using metadata, and we need to get our APIs right. All of these things are hard, and there is good work being done in all of them.”

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One thought on “The Search Papers: Bray on Search

  1. Nick Palevsky says:

    Sorry for this random post. I’m trying to get precipitation figures for a remote town in northern Vietnam, called Sapa. I’ve googled several ways, but have gotten nothing satisfactory. Any ideas?