The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Visualizing search results

Ken sent me this link to the Kart00 Metasearch engine. It uses Flash to an almost pathological extreme, but you can choose the HTML interface (and be careful—once you choose, there doesn't seem to be a way to change short of removing any cookies you have for their domain).

It is an interesting concept and I think I know what they're doing. When you do a search (and yes, the Flash interface is nicer; the HTML interface crashed Mozilla 0.9.9 in an endless series of message boxes) the result is a graph of the results. The size of a node (search result) is apparently directly proportional to the relevance of the search, and the connections between the nodes (the edges) are similar terms between the two pages.

For instance, I did a search for “sean spc conner” and the two largest results (one for www.classiccmp.org and www.conman.org) are linked by the terms “captain” and “napalm” (wonder why?). You can also remove terms from a list on the side.

All in all, it is an interesting view into search results and the ability to remove terms is quite nice (and can give dramatic changes—for instance, I removed the terms “captain” and “napalm” and the resulting graph was completely different with no one node dominating and the big result from the last search, www.conman.org isolated and not connected to any other node).

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