Search Engine Analysis

Basics

Assignment date Due Date Percent of Grade
10/07/2009 11/25/2009 15

Description

You will complete an in-depth analysis of a search engine. The idea is to use our knowledge of how search engines can differ (learned way back near the beginning of the semester) and analyze a search engine using an appropriate framework.

The report itself

You will write a report (on your wiki; it can be one or more separate pages) about a search engine that we have not covered in class. During the lecture on web search we learned several different ways of thinking about and analyzing Web search. You will use this knowledge (and more) to investigate, describe, and analyze the usefulness of this search engine. This report will have three parts:

  • You should have an overview/executive summary that summarizes your thoughts on this search engine and your recommendation for using it (or not).
  • You will use the frameworks that we covered during that lecture (especially on slide 17, but also on slides 12 & 13) to describe the search engine.
  • You will compare the search engine to other search engines that can be used for the same purposes. You don't have to go into the same level of detail for these search engines as you did for yours — you simply have to make it apparent how your search engine differs in significant ways (for better or for worse) from the others.
  • You should demonstrate (using screen shots with accompanying narrative text or with screen-capture video and accompanying voice) how to use this tool. You need not cover everything this tool can do — just cover the highlights. There is definitely no need to cover things like registration.

I have no samples from previous years because this is a new assignment. You are going to have to figure out what is appropriate and what is not. You can always ask me questions. I'm not trying to be cryptic with my answers or with the description. This is simply the first time that I have given this assignment so everything may not be as fully fleshed out as you are used to seeing.

As far as length? I don't have a specific answer, but this is a fairly significant assignment for the semester. It should be long enough to do all of the things I've asked for. (A lot of help that is, huh?) As you're progressing, if you have any concerns you'll probably want to discuss your write-up with me. This lack of clarity is why I have included milestones in this assignment — so that we all can check in with each other as you continue to work on it.

Milestones

At a later date I will clarify how I want you to turn in this information.

10/14/09
Choose search engine; add your information to the signup page.
10/28/09
Demonstration completed (either written or screen-capture video)
11/11/09
Analysis completed
11/25/09
Comparison to other search engine completed; complete analysis assignment submitted

Lists of alternative search engines

These are lists of alternative search engines that have been written since I last taught this class. I'm sure there are more. And there are many more hundreds of search engines that you might choose from, but I figured these lists would be a reasonable place to start since someone else has

  1. 100 alternative search engines you should know (June 2009)
  2. Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google (June 2009)
  3. The Top 160 search engines -- Super Search Add-0n (July 2009)
  4. A new Top 100 Alternative Search Engines list! (June 2009)
  5. Alternatives to Google Web Search (May 2009)
  6. Five More Search Tools You May Not Know … But Should (July 2009)
  7. Ditch Google For A Day: 10 Amazing Search Engines To Try out (March 2009)
  8. Top 10 Alternative Search Engines of 2008 (December 2008)
  9. Engineering Results: Some Alternative Search Engines (February 2009)
  10. New search engines aspire to supplement Google (May 2009)
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