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Questions on social searching

Is there any documentation on the value of saving searches? It seems to me that once you’ve looked for something and found it, you’ll either not need to find it again (you’ll have your question answered) or you’ll remember what path got you to the pot of gold in the first place. Does the rest of the world not work like this?

Similarly, is there any value in sharing searches? Does anybody else care what terms I used to find site x, and if so is there any meaningful way to convey this beyond pages and pages of “Query: x y z/Results: www., www., www.” that someone else would have to sort through?

It has come to my attention that these might be useful approaches, but I think I might be missing the boat.

4 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    What I like are those tools that index the text from every page you wander across, just in case you’re sitting around two weeks later wondering, “Didn’t I read somewhere that Wensleydale was toxic when combined with wasabi? Crap, where did I read that?”

    ‘Cause I do wonder things like that.

  2. Hadley #

    That’s interesting! I guess there is a usage. I suppose the question for me is — Would I have marked it (or remembered the trail) in such a way that I’d be able to find it again? I’m afraid that the way my brain works, I’d have gotten to the Wensleydale/wasabi warning via a search for ‘Types of restaurants near my work that serve gluten-free food?’ When I needed to go back to the interaction warning, I’m not sure I’d be able to reconstruct the path to find it!

    Your indexing approach makes a bit more sense.  I suppose it might be interesting to have Google sort its results by “Sites that are new to you” and “Sites you’ve already read.”  Changing link color for sites already in my browsing History accomplishes this to an extent — at least it gives me some sense that the surroundings should be familiar.
    Thanks for the reply though; it’s nice to know that the evangelists who are pushing this feature have some grounding in what people actually do.

  3. Ali C. #

    Yes. There’s totally a reason to save searches. Mainly, when I run a search of 1000 different journals with specific key words, I often don’t have time to look through all the articles that turn up. But if I’m able to save the search (those specific keywords in those specific journals), I can go back later and find other articles I may have missed.

    It also allows me to remember what I’ve already searched (nonproliferation versus non-proliferation versus non proliferation) and what I still need to…

    Does that help??

  4. 4

    Definitely! That makes quite a bit of sense. I can see how interrupting an “in progress” investigation could make it difficult to resume without having a trail to jump back into.


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