Building a custom search engine in your own expertise area may seem a trivial task. However, most of the data you need to create this special search engines is tacit knowledge. For example, one of the basics of building a custom search engine is assembling a list of websites in your chosen topic. However, assembling a unique list is critical when trying to follow copyright laws. You may recognized quality website when you re-stumble it, still recall all the quality websites you stumble in the last month may be an impossible mission.
In this article I’m going to give you tips for recalling this tacit knowledge based on your “Social Style” as defined by Merrill & Reid.
Driver: The Director
Well…You are the boss, so we don’t worry about you (-;. Still, there is one tip that we think we can give you:
Tip #1: Search your browser history
When you make a research on the Internet, you are focused on one task, so you pass through a lot of webpages that relevant to your expertise but irrelevant for your current task, without asking yourself if you’ll need them in the future. However, simple search in your browser history will reveal this treasure quickly. By the way, if you are using desktop search software like Copernic or Google Desktop Search, you may be tempted to search through these interfaces instead of searching every browser you are using. Even so searching in each of your browsers individually will yield much more results.
Expressive: The Socialiser
You enjoy socializing and meeting new friends on social networks. Well, many of these people are there to promote their online business, so listing your friends’ domains may be a win-win situation.
Tip #2: Use your Twitter lists and use Formulists to create and maintain them.
Twitter’s people search has made some progress, still it’s missing the ability to search in your own network. However, the power of platforms like twitter and facebook, is that they are open to third party apps, and there are plenty of them. Formulists is a great tool to organize your friends in lists by the keywords in their bio. However one con of this service is that it is limited to maximum 2 lists in the free account (pro-users can create more than two lists).
Amiable: The helper
You like to share new websites with your friends on social websites like Facebook or FriendFeed . In addition your email probably full with thanks from friends who you send useful links for their research assignment or their work. In this case, free search in your email accounts will do the job. However, searching your own posts in Twitter, Facebook or your favorite forums is not straightforward. So here is the tip for you guys:
Tip #3: Use advanced search to find your own posts.
Analytical: The Bookmarker
You bookmark every second link that you find on the Internet. Maybe you are using your browser default bookmarking system, or else you are using more elaborate service like Delicious or Diigo. If you are using your browser bookmarking system, a simple bookmarks search will reveal all the bookmarks that related to your topic.
Tip #4: Use Firefox smart folders to save your bookmarks search, so you would find new websites in the future. (Also you can create smart folders for your browser history) .
Suppose you are using online bookmarking sevice. First you may want to do a free search with your subject keyword or keyphrase (i.e. not tag search) to find all the relevant bookmarks. Next, you may want to look at the results to find out what tags did you use for this bookmarks. Did you use synonyms (e.g. vertical-search and topical-search)? Or maybe you used both the singular and the plural forms? In this case you may merge these tags into one standardized tag. Also you may check if all the relevant bookmarks are labeled with the right tags.
tip #5: If you are using Delicious you may want to bundle all the tags that relevant to your topic under one category, so you’ll get an unified list of all the relevant bookmarks in Delicious.
Finally, here are some more resources for your specialized search engine: your Digg account, your blog posts, and your comments on other blogs. If you have more ideas, you are welcome to share them with me on the comments.