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How We Incrementally Improved Search

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An oldie but a goldie. Some overlap with a diff preso but this is a standalone.

An oldie but a goldie. Some overlap with a diff preso but this is a standalone.

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  • 1. How We Incrementally Improved Search Ravi Mynampaty @ravimynampaty
  • 2. Agenda Background• Roadmap• Implementation• Analytics• Benefits• Challenges• Next Steps
  • 3. Background: A few years ago…• Out-of-the-box Ultraseek• No optimization, no customization• Fraction of HBS content indexed / searchable• Many dead ends• Proliferation of different search tools• User sentiment • “search sucks” • “why can’t it be more like Google”
  • 4. Background: Our Vision• One Search Box to Rule Them All• The long term goal: enterprise search• One-stop searching• Google-like simplicity• Handle refinement / navigation on results page
  • 5. Agenda• Background Roadmap• Implementation• Analytics• Benefits• Challenges• Next Steps
  • 6. Roadmap: Preliminary Steps• Inventory document collections• Inventory search-type tools• Of the above, identify – most heavily used – strategically significant – high impact – Low Hanging Fruit (LHF)
  • 7. Roadmap: Implementation Plan• Prioritize tasks by ease of content access and implementation (LHF)• Develop timeline• Build prototypes and iterate the design
  • 8. Agenda• Background• Roadmap Implementation• Analytics• Benefits• Challenges• Next Steps
  • 9. Implementation: How we built it• Customized Ultraseek’s results display code• Worked with owners of software apps –Provided JSON APIs –Allowed us to spider their app/repository• HTML is the API !!• In other words: No rocket science involved
  • 10. Implementation: Three Integration Approaches• Blended Search (e.g., Faculty/Staff Directory)• Brokered Query (e.g., Video Catalog)• Query Resubmit (e.g., Alumni Directory)
  • 11. Implementation: Blended SearchSpider HBS web content outside of HBS.EDU• Harbus.org (student newspaper)• Club and affiliated sitesSpider HBS content located in other applications• Faculty and staff phone book• Alumni Class Notes application
  • 12. Implementation : Optimize and clean up search indexes Work with content owners to create good HTML page titles • Faculty Publications pages • 20th Century Leadership database • Address MS-Office / PDF files too Eliminating duplicate search results / use filters Adjusting Relevance per collection / source / file path
  • 13. Implementation : Create Best BetsTop 10 QueriesOct – Dec
  • 14. Implementation: Unify Blended Search + Query Resubmit
  • 15. Query refinement options(Blended Search)Query resubmit options“Integration-lite”
  • 16. Implementation: Expanding the Net w/ Brokered Search• When direct indexing isn’t practical  Harvard.edu search  HBS VideoTools (intranet only)  MBA Event Calendar (intranet only)• A query is handed off to another search engine• Results are returned “behind the scenes” as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) / Python• Ajax-like support of asynchronous search processes
  • 17. Implementation: Brokered Query in Action
  • 18. Implementation: Brokered Query in Action
  • 19. Implementation: Brokered Query in Action
  • 20. Implementation: One-offs• Software Dev Docs (cmd line)$ find ./software/docs –name ‘*html’ | xargs grep -i oracle | less(returns 100s of docs)• Built web-based search UI
  • 21. Agenda• Background• Roadmap• Implementation Analytics• Benefits• Challenges• Next Steps
  • 22. Analytics: Tracking Usage of Features
  • 23. Analytics: Tracking Best Bets
  • 24. Analytics: Tracking Best Bets
  • 25. Agenda• Background• Roadmap• Implementation• Analytics Benefits• Challenges• Next Steps
  • 26. Benefits• Single point of access for various repositories• Shortcomings of underlying tools overcome• Better access to content from rest of Harvard• Traffic boost to e-commerce site
  • 27. Agenda• Background• Roadmap• Implementation• Analytics• Benefits Challenges• Next Steps
  • 28. Challenges• Search is never done• Complex permissions issues• SERP design convergence• SharePoint
  • 29. Agenda• Background• Roadmap• Implementation• Analytics• Benefits• Challenges Next Steps
  • 30. Next Steps• Tackling the mixed-mode situation• Integration with taxonomies• Search experience within HBS applications• Faceted search where rich metadata available• Analytics feeding website design and vocabulary development
  • 31. Conclusion• Tactical, iterative approach enabled significant progress• Implementing simpler features/tweaks may have higher impact• Your existing search engine may have more gas in it than you realize