Wednesday, January 17, 2007

One Search to Rule Them All

Let me start by saying I am an information junkie. I like all information and then I like to decide if that information is important to me. If it is, I like to dig into it further and see where that takes me. As a result of all of this information and sifting through it, I can never find anything. Maybe that is why I like database systems, because as long as I can control what comes in, I can find it later. This does present a problem though as some information I don't think I need is the stuff I need most and if I filter it out, then I can't find it. (This is going to be one of those, what if we are all living in a spec of dust on someone else's desk, sort of philosophical, sort of high, type of conversations). So if I don't know what I need, but I need everything, but I am only interested in some of it, but I am really interested in all of it, or at least more of it, but don't know it, what am I to do. The logical answer, (if there is such a thing to that quasi question) is search. If I can search everything than I aways have access to everything, even the stuff I don't know I need. The problem with search is that it doesn't always work. Even my beloved Google fails me from time to time. And even if it didn't, it doesn't help me search within a site that has information that I need, it just gets me to the site. Of course the site could use Google search but may not.

So I was sifting through some information at LifeHacker.com when I came across this tool called Wikiseek that searches Wikipedia for you. So I think to myself, isn't search a prime component of Wikipedia and all Wiki's for that matter? (Hours of research lead me to the conclusion that, yes, search is indeed part of a wiki's feature set). So why this tool? Well anyone that has ever used Wikipedia's search knows why, and that is because it sucks. So this tool searches better than the search that is available and built in. So now I am forced to think that maybe the answer isn't in the storage of data, but the ability to seek and find that data with the best tool available. Now if you want to get all technical and start talking about how that isn't possible because how could you index site content or file content of something you don't have access to and those sorts of things, save it. If you read this blog you know that all things are possible and the more you say they aren't the better the chance of some really smart guy getting really rich. (I haven't had time to prove out the cause and effect relationship of this theory, but there is lots of circumstantial evidence to support it).

So if I have a really brilliant search tool that can search anything then I can have all of the information that I need and don't know I need because I don't have to filter it out because I can search it all. How cool is that. Now think about that idea from an application standpoint. Imagine search not being confined to just one database, but maybe a database and a flat file or my database and your database and the Library of Congress database. Now finding a book that meets our needs becomes much easier. Thoughts anyone?

Have a blessed day!
-mike

Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.
-Jimmy Breslin

1 comment:

Alicia said...

This is more along the lines of the "What is data" post, but I realized this morning that I need something that would allow me to search the contents and locations of everything in my house. On a more global scale, a comprehensive search on where I could buy XYZ would save me hours every week.