Finnish researchers have developed a new search engine that outperforms current ones and helps people search more efficiently.
Developed at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, the SciNet search engine is different because it changes internet searches into recognition tasks by showing keywords related to the user's search in topic radar.
People using SciNet can get relevant and diverse search results faster, especially when they do not know exactly what they are looking for or how to formulate a query to find it.
It is often hard for people to put what they are looking for into words.
Their search needs often do not become more focused until they begin the actual search.
"The SciNet search engine solves these problems. It is easier for people to recognise what information they want from the options offered by the SciNet search engine than it is to type it themselves," explained project's coordinator Tuukka Ruotsalo.
Once initially queried, SciNet displays a range of keywords and topics in a topic radar.
With the help of the directions on the radar, the engine displays how these topics are related to each other.
The relevance of each keyword is displayed as its distance from the centre point of the radar - those more closely related are nearer to the centre, and those less relevant are farther away.
The search engine also offers alternatives that are connected with the topic, but which the user might not have thought of querying.
By moving words around the topic radar, users specify what information is most useful for them.
The paper was published in the journal Communications of the ACM.