ARCHIVED: Project: IU Search
Primary UITS contact: Kim Milford
Last update: February 2, 2008
Description: A series of research, development, and service projects to aid in the delivery of more generalized search platforms for projecting IU knowledge domains to our community via ChaCha's infrastructure and an expert IU guide network. This is part of a pioneering strategic alliance that will explore how IU and ChaCha benefit from a better understanding of how guided search serves academic and research missions at IU, and from the development of next-generation search tools and practices.
- Mobile IU Answers Pilot: Pilot launched December 2008. Infoseekers submit questions on their cell phones via SMS text with a prefix of "IU", and IU guides provide answers using ChaCha's guide application and taxonomy. This service is based on ChaCha's successful Mobile Answers consumer offering (see http://www.ChaCha.com/). UITS Call Center and Reference Librarians from IUPUI and IUB serve as guides for the pilot. Usability testing and service promotion will begin early in 2009.
- Integration of search returns from various sources into a consolidated platform (http://search.iu.edu/): IUB Libraries, IUPUI Libraries, and the UITS Knowledge Base
- IU Answers pilot
Continuing and future adoption:
- Search research: Collaborative initiatives with academic schools and departments for research and analysis on web search, marketing, business development, etc.
- Mobile search enhancement: With the recent launch of the mobile IU Answers service via ChaCha's infrastructure, infoseekers can now request and receive answers from IU guides via mobile SMS text. As the service is piloted, usability testing will be conducted to determine how the service might be made more valuable to the IU community.
- University content: It is often challenging to find the right information within the array of university, campus, school, departmental, and personal web sites at IU. The work done in the pilot stages of this project will help determine how to optimize IU's web presence and provide better tools for searching.
- Scholarly repositories: Many scholarly disciplines are developing extensive repositories of data sets, working papers, and other specialized digital artifacts of interest to researchers. An opportunity may exist for pilot projects in the sciences or humanities involving ChaCha search infrastructure within specialized scholarly communities.
Milestones and status:
- August 2007: Announcement of strategic alliance with ChaCha (view the press release at http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/6102.html)
- December 2007: Development of integrated search site and Search with a Guide pilot. This service, initially staffed by IUB librarians, provided real-time assistance in finding applicable and appropriate results for infoseekers. This service was discontinued when ChaCha moved from web search to an SMS text answering service.
- December 2008: Piloting of IU Answers SMS text answering service
- January 2009: Re-hosting of search.iu.edu from ChaCha's platform to IU
- February 2009: IU Answers SMS text answering service usability studies
Experience from these early phases will help in the ongoing assessment of service needs and the development of future initiatives.
Comment process: Send email to Kim Milford.
- Development: Value-added search at IU
- Research: Exploration of next-generation search platforms
- Services: Improved IU search using ChaCha's infrastructure; presentation of a unified search platform at IU
Risks: Implementation may not meet the needs of the IU community, leading to reduced adoption.
Primary client: IU community
Client impact: Changes to web sites; additional channels to reach librarians and support staff; new techniques for ensuring relevancy and accuracy of IU web sites
- Chuck Aikman
- Polly Boruff-Jones
- Mindy Cooper
- Sandy Cunningham
- Kaye Davidson
- Jeff Graf
- Joseph Harman
- J.B. Hill
- Jaena Hollingsworth
- Jen Laherty
- David Lewis
- Jian Liu
- Emily Okada
- Eric Snajdr
- Craig Spanburg
- Sonja Staum-Kuniej
- Manjit Trehan
- Carolyn Walters
- Sue Workman
- Ryan Litherland
- Chris Lenzo
Steering committee: Brad Wheeler (IU), Jay Highley (ChaCha), and Brad Bostic (ChaCha)