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    Sean Kheraj

    If you were to design a search engine for historians, what features would it have?

    Connor Pantaleo

    In a search engine for historians good keyword searching is important. When doing research finding information for our topics can be difficult if we are unable to search for documents with a keyword surrounding our work.

    Another feature in a search engine that would be useful for historians would be searching with context. Sometimes when searching a keyword you don’t want everything to do with that keyword. Having the search engine know in what context the word is used would be helpful.


    Google Scholar, Proquest, and Baidu are the three research tools that I use almost on a daily basis, each of tools had its advantages and shortcomings. If I designed a search engine for historians, I could have two features. Firstly, to have metadata recorded in other languages rather than only in English. As seeing digital images in the archives online (e.g. Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections and Archives of Ontario), the metadata for digital photographs were in English; however, what if non-English speakers want to learn about Canadian history? This also can be a way to increase accessibility. Secondly, for historians and users have searched and cited the source, there can be an online consent signed to allow for disclosure of their emails; thus, users can share immediate thoughts when accessing these sources.


    One element I think would be crucial in providing an excellent search engine for historians would be advanced search and filter features.

    This would allow the ability to refine your search by searching within both general and specific fields. So being able to search for a document knowing it relates to psychology or history, but also being able to further refine the search such as refining a search for a history document in the context of the history of WWII. Other filters would include specific authors, time period of creation, country of origin for the document, as well as format (e.g. a document, a photo, an audio file, etc.)


    If I were to design a search engine I would want to focus on optimizing users experience. I think an important aspect in a search engine is focused results. Direct results that pertain exactly to what has been searched eliminates the possibility of researchers needing to go to ten other sites to find other research material. If all the results on the one engine are focused on the topic being searched, users will be more likely to use this site for a majority of their research purposes. Additionally, I think having all types of documents is also important for a search engine. Instead of sending researchers to a search engine for photos, another one for articles, and another one for newspapers it would be helpful if everything is one place. When doing extensive research, it is very easy to get confused with all the sources that have been gathered. So by eliminating the need to have multiple sources from multiple different engines, you are helping to make the research process go a little smoother.


    If i were to design a search engine for historians i would want to focus on a good keyword search as well as an advanced search option. By doing this i would be able to enhance the users experience. With the ease of access and use they would be able to find and gain information at a faster rate. I also think that having a variety of documents on a website is also very effective. Having images, documents as well as text on the website would allow information to flow more effectively. For a website I like the idea of having an advanced search feature. Often times many of the sources I need are hard to find with a simple search bar. With the use of the advance search bar I am able to filter out the unnecessary information in order to find my sources within a shorter amount of time.


    The efficiency and effectiveness of the search engine is what I would focus on when creating one. The use of an advance search option maximizes the amount of specific information and quality and quantity of the work being researched. I would also include the option of date selection as this would save the researcher time looking through sources that don’t match their specifications.Key words and/or phrases would also be useful when creating a search engine. This would aid in the user experience which allows for better search results pertaining to their topic of interest.


    If I was designing a search engine i would include the following features. It should include straight forward search engines, this way visitors using the site will not have to spend a lot of time learning to use the site, also as an engine for professionals the engine should include as specific information as possible so the users are not spending the majority of their time sifting through page and pages of information that they do not need. Also the engine should also include a way to access citations for the information that is in the search engine. Lastly the search engine should also include a separate search for images and other items that need to be viewed such as maps and personal letters so the searchers can gain a clearer understanding of their information

    Sean Kheraj

    In reading your suggestions to an ideal search engine for historians, here are some of the features that stood out in your responses:

    – A variety of advanced search options
    – Quick relevant results
    – Filters for subject area and years (both time period and publication dates)
    – Access to multiple document types

    On the last point, I think you’ve raised an important issue when thinking about search engines and historical research. A search engine is ultimately limited by the database that it is searching. As we learned in the readings, Google searches an enormous database that consists of a large percentage of the World Wide Web. However, it does not search the entire WWW. Similarly, JSTOR and ProQuest do not search all journals or all primary source documents everywhere in the world. They search large, but limited databases of information.

    Christina Sanita

    I know I am late on the discussion question but just haven’t been feeling my best & completely overwhelmed with this busy time of year. So here it is…

    If I were were to design a search engine for historians, I would model it after the “JSTOR” website’s search engine. First and most importantly, it would have features including different filters to help better find documents or materials. These filters would include things like search by document type, name, author, date created, keywords, etc. Second, it would be efficient in displaying quick results when searching. Third, it would be secure backed-up to a secure server to ensure that if it crashes, the search engine itself or the documents would not be lost. Fourth, it would include an accessible way of creating citations pertaining to the documents that can be accessed from the search engine. Fifth, it would include a way of also doubling as an archive by adding documents to the site that can be found through the search engine!

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