Frost & Sullivan : Structuring searches
A structured database widens the range of search devices.
Frost & Sullivan, an international business research and consulting group, has a searchable Training Directory within the Corporate Training and Development area of its website. ‘Browse categories’ allows users to first ‘choose an attribute’ – job function, category or delivery method – then to ‘choose a value’, which in the case of job function consists of various titles.
An advanced search allows more specific filtering and includes a keyword search. It also lets registered users store and file results. A ‘Saved Searches’ panel offers three options: storing the result of an advanced search (‘Save this search as’); Load a served search (from a dropdown list); and Modify loaded search (update or delete).
The same system operates in the Research part of the site, though here the results are documents rather than courses.
Search devices such as this are more commonly associated with organisations that are used to structuring data in different ways – such as libraries or museums – yet Frost & Sullivan shows they can bring real benefits to any site that runs on a database. The ‘save search’ mechanism is neat – it allows users to pull pieces of information into one place, rather than having to deal with each element individually.
However, this sophisticated mix of browse and search functionality is possible only when a site includes a structured database. Fields are tagged so that the correct items can be filtered out, with a free search adding just another element.http://www.frost.com
First published on 16 May, 2006