by Saul Batzofin
By far the most common complaint I hear about the College website has been that the search engine isn’t good enough. While the Information Architecture has come on hugely in the past two years, many of our site users have lost confidence in our Search, meaning that not only are we committing the cardinal sin of frustrating our visitors and making their life difficult (they end up using outside search engines to find stuff inside our site), we are also losing valuable information and insight about their behaviours when using our site.
So, over the past few months ICT and Communications have been working to select and implement a new search engine. I am therefore pleased to announce that, this morning, we replaced the old Ultraseek engine with the Google Search Appliance. All CMS search requests are now operating through Google.
The Google Search Appliance is indexing core College web content (HTML, word documents, pdfs, blogs etc), including the CMS, Medicine CMS, sites on the Windows and Linux web farms, the Imperial College Union site, etc. The index includes publicly available content as well as some permission based content, specifically permission based pages in the CMS that anyone in the College can log in to see. When a search results in permission based page results, users will be asked for their username and password before they can view the content. Any content restricted to a smaller subset of College members will not appear in the search index.
For those of you who manage sites which use the College search but are not on the CMS, Ultraseek will continue to generate results for your searches in the short term. We will be contacting you over the next few weeks to let you know how to redirect your searches to the Google appliance.
Similarly for those of you who have site specific searches on the CMS, these will also continue to deliver results from Ultraseek. We will be contacting you as well to help you transition your searches to the Google appliance.
If you do notice any sites missing when you do your searches, please let us know via the ICT service desk as they can be easily added to the index. And if you are seeing content that you believe should not be available in search results, get in touch so we can rectify this.
Find out more about the Google Search Appliance in the Web Guide