iSeek

Steve Ervin

 

 

 

Introduction

iSEEK is an academic search engine geared to help users find reliable sources for things such as research projects, term papers, and anything that needs to have reputable citations. In many ways, iSEEK is similar to Google Books, Google Scholar, and SweetSearch. However, iSEEK has a set of features specific only to iSEEK which will be discussed further. iSEEK aims at “Empowering Individuals with the Knowledge to Act by Dynamically Targeting, Discovering, and Organizing Information” (http://bit.ly/S6jezO). iSEEK aims to make web search more intelligent by offering targeted discovery for information retrieval by leaving “searching” behind.

iSEEK is compromised of two search engines: iSEEK Education (http://education.iseek.com) and iSEEK Web (http://www.iseek.com/) . iSEEK Education is designed for teachers, educators, and students to help them find high quality relevant results on the web. This search engine compiles hundreds of authoritative resources from university, government, and established noncommercial providers. The results are safety guaranteed to protect children, ensure there are no viruses, and verifies results are safe and reputable. The authoritative results are gathered from thousands of trusted resources reviewed by leading educators for high quality and reliability. iSEEK Web is geared towards general users that are looking to use targeted discovery to perform searches.  Both of these search engines allow you to see information iSEEK gathered which will allow more targeted results and eliminate lots of information that may be irrelevant to you.

Specialized Search Strategy for Academic Search

When collecting information for academic purposes, you need to consider the source where you’re getting your information. You need to identify credible sources that you can cite in your bibliography. In order to identify credible sources, you can follow the framework listed below:

  •  Suitability
    • Scope
    • Intended audience?
  • Authority
    • Identity
    • Motivation
    • History
    • Reputation
  • Accuracy (or verifiability)
    • Are sources listed?
    • Credibility of sources
    • Connection to literature
  • Timeliness
    • Date of publication
    • Updated?
  • Publisher
    • Support for what is writer
    • Location of the page

For more information regarding this framework, reference this lesson: http://bit.ly/11Y6Qae.

Furthermore, iSEEK Education has its own quality checklist that all of its results from iSEEK Education has gone through. You can also use this quality checklist for other documents or search engines to evaluate the credibility. Click here to check out iSEEK Education’s quality checklist.

Instructions

How to use

Using iSEEK to search is very similar to using Google, Yahoo, or Bing. iSEEK not only supports using natural language such as [Who was the first president of the United States?] but also supports using keywords such as [first president “United States”]. Either way, it is designed to understand what you are asking and retrieves the relevant information. Let’s get started with learning how to use this tool.

Search Interface:

The homepage looks similar to most search engines with just a few exceptions. Above the query box, you get three choices. The first option is to search iSeek Web, followed by the option to use MySeek which we will discuss later.  The third option is to search iSEEK Education. Using iSEEK Education will prioritize authoritative websites followed by State Standards and, lastly, the General Web. After typing your search query (again it can be in natural language or keywords), you have one more option that is the same as using the search operator [site:] with Google. If you click the  to the left of the query box, you get a dialog box that looks like this:

 

 

 

 

Here you can enter a specific site that you would like to search. You can even specify more than one URL to search by clicking Add Target and entering the next URL. If you would rather not use the dialog box, you can also use the [site:] search operator.

iViews

iViews is an iSEEK specific feature that allows users to use Targeted Discovery as previously mentioned. iViews is a dynamically generated and interactive way to search. It helps users narrow down to personal interests or relevance to their search query. iViews can be topics, people, places, organizations, dates, grade level, and subjects that are extracted from your search results. Let’s see if we can figure out the size of the hotel industry using iSEEK Education. Using the search query [size of hotel industry], these are the results you will get before utilizing iView:

As you can see (click on the picture to enlarge), none of the search results on the first page are relevant. Using iViews, we can find relevant results that will answer our question by narrowing down the search results. Under each iView category, you can choose one selection to narrow your results. It sometimes takes a little playing around with to find the right iView combination(s). In many cases, the selection under each category that has the most links (which is listed to the right of the selection) will provide you with the answer you are looking for. However in this case, selecting the “Market Size” selection under Topic provides us with an answer to our question which makes sense since we are looking for the size of the industry. You can see the result below:

When using iSEEK Education, you may find that you see less results that will answer your question. However, you must remember that these sources were handpicked by the iSEEK team to be safe and filtered.

Tweaking iView:

Above the categories, you may have noticed three buttons. The   allows you to change whether you see the iView window horizontally above your search results or vertically beside you search results. The  allows you to show/hide categories from the iView. Lastly, the  allows you to reset your selected iViews and see all search results.

Additional Features:

Furthermore, beside each result there are three options.

 

 

The first allows you to select the result for the iSEEK team to examine to blacklist the site (specific to iSEEK Education searches). This is if you find a result that is not safe or appropriate. The envelope allows you to share that result with a friend via a link or email. The last option is a rating system iSEEK implemented. After viewing a result, you can choose to rate it allowing other users to view the average rating and know how reliable that source is.

iSEEK Web also has a specific feature that allows you to utilize the MySEEK feature previously mentioned. However, you must be logged in to iSEEK to use this feature. When you click the  next to a result, it stores it into your MySEEK. This allows you to search your own favorite links that you have already deemed reliable from the homepage on iSEEK by searching your MySEEK rather than iSEEK Web or iSEEK Education.

Comparison with Google Web search

There are both strengths and weaknesses when it comes to using iSEEK verses the traditional Google Web Search, because they have a different search process and a different set of organic results that are displayed.

Advantages:

First, iSEEK allows you to narrow down your search results without having to think of your own keywords to narrow your search. When you search for something, the most common topics, people, places, etc. are listed in iView that allow you to see relationships among these iView categories. Seeing these new relationships might help you discover new facts you might not have known which may or may not be directly related to your search. Furthermore, iSEEK offers a bookmarking option via MySEEK. Google lacks these features and most likely will not help you discover keywords that can help you narrow your search unless there is a list of related searches. Another advantage is that iSEEK offers a smaller number of results that are guaranteed to be safe and reliable. iSEEK has already filtered out untrustworthy sites especially when using iSEEK Education. With iSEEK Education, you know the results you are getting have been verified to be safe and filtered.

Disadvantages:

Although there are some advantages to using iSEEK, there are also a few disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that iView only allows you to select one topic within each iView category. For example, underneath Topic you can’t select both Hotel Industry and Tourism Industry. You can only select one. This is something that iSEEK could definitely improve on since many links you would think could classify under more than one selection. Furthermore, it appears that the more specific your search query gets with iSEEK, the less relevant your results get. With Google, the more keywords you use the more relevant results get. As mentioned previously, iSEEK has a more limited number of results which can be an advantage in some cases. However, it can also be a disadvantage if iSEEK hasn’t discovered a good reliable source and added it to their database. Google is sure to have that source so you may not always be getting the best sources.

Similarities:

iSEEK and Google both have some similar features. First, iSEEK has a similar way of defining words for users. When searching only a word, the first result will be the definition of the word in a form similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph.

Furthermore, iSEEK also allows you to use a number of common search operators that also work with Google including:

  • search query”
  • -query
  • or
  • and
  • site:
  • intitle:
  • inurl:

How to get the most out of it

In order to get the most out of iSEEK, you should create an account and log in every time you use iSEEK Web and iSEEK Education. It’s an extremely simple process that takes less than a minute. Three reasons for this – to access your MySEEK results, to view your recent queries, and utilize the portal homepage.

As previously mentioned when you log in, you can use MySEEK to favorite links. You can either search these links or view them on your homepage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re logged in, you can also view your previous search queries in the last iView category called Recent Queries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly by logging in, you can create a portal homepage that has your MySEEK favorites and customized portals like CNN News, Weather, New York Times, ESPN Sports, and many more. This would make a great homepage that would allow you to search and see what is happening in the world.

Recommendation

When searching for information, you have multiple choices from Google, Yahoo, Bing, to the academic search engine iSEEK. But when should you choose iSEEK and specifically when should you choose iSEEK Web and iSEEK Education? First, iSEEK Web should be chosen when you are looking for general information. The targeted discovery allows you to narrow your search based on your original query using iView. For example, you may be looking for movie reviews for the new James Bond movie. iSEEK Web would do a great job locating these by selecting the iView topic “movie reviews” and selecting the iView person “James Bond”. You should use iSEEK Education when you also have a rather general search, you want a credible safe secure source, and want to narrow your results down by topic, theme, person, place, or date. Sometimes, it takes longer than usual to find what you are looking for on iSEEK Education so do not use this resource when you are trying to do a quick search. Google would be a better resource under those circumstances. Lastly, both iSEEK Web and iSEEK Education work best with general non-specific search queries. After the initial search, it is better to narrow your results down using iView rather than using additional keywords and search operators.

Appendix

About the Author

Steve Ervin is currently a senior working towards a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Marketing concentration at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. After his anticipated graduation (Winter 2013), he will be relocating to Seattle, Washington, to begin his career with Microsoft on the Windows team. Throughout his life, Steve has always been a tech enthusiast trying out new tech products and online services. In his spare time, he also enjoys snowmobiling, skiing, hunting, poker, and keeping up with current events in the news.

2 Responses to iSeek

  1. rutzenm on November 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm says:

    Overall, I think this is a great start to your book chapter. Your content was solid and you clearly put time into research. Here are some things to work on:

    Writing- There were a few typos.

    In your first paragraph there is a typo here:
    “However, iSEEK does has a set of features specific only to iSEEK which will be discussed further.” (It should be “However, iSeek has a set…”

    In your last paragraph in your introduction section:
    “Both of these search engines allows you to see information ” (Should be “Both of these search engines allow you..”

    Under the “search interface” section of your instructions:
    “The first one is to search iSEEK Web. Followed by MySEEK which we will discuss how to use later.” (Sentence fragment. Could be “The first option is to search iSeek Web, followed by the option to use MySeek which we will discuss later.”

    Under your iViews section of instructions: “iViews is a iSEEK specific feature that allows users to use Targeted Discovery as previously mentioned.” (Should be “iViews is an iSeek…” Since it’s a vowel)

    Under the “additional features” of iView:
    “The last option is a rating system iSEEK implemented. After viewing a result, you can choose to rate it allowing other users to view the average rating and know how reliable that source is.” (Reads a little awkwardly. Could be “The last option is a rating system that iSEEK has implemented. After viewing a result you can choose to rate it, allowing other users to view the average rating and know how reliable that source is.”)

    Under tweaking iView, I thought this paragraph was a bit confusing:
    “Recall, iSEEK Education has a blacklist specific feature. iSEEK Web also has a specific feature that allows you to utilize the MySEEK feature previously mentioned. However, you must be logged in to iSEEK to use this feature. When you click the next to a result, it stores it into your MySEEK.”

    I wasn’t sure what the previously mentioned feature you were talking about was. Are you relating this to the blacklist feature?

    This paragraph under comparison with Google search is a run-on sentence:
    “There are both strengths and weaknesses along with similarities when it comes to using iSEEK verses the traditional Google Web Search which are a result of having a different search process and a different set of organic results that are displayed.”
    Just work on breaking that up.

    Under disadvantages, you have a sentence fragment here:
    “Although there are some advantages to using iSEEK, there are also a few disadvantages. The first being that iView only allows you to select one topic within each iView category.”
    You could just say “The first disadvantage is that iView only allows…”

    Also under disadvantages, a quick word change here:
    “Furthermore, it appears that the more specific your search query gets with iSEEK, the least relevant your results get.” (Should be “…the more specific your search query gets with the iSeek, the less relevant…”)

    In the final portion of your chapter, you say there are four reasons you should create an account but you only list/discuss three. Just make sure that’s consistent.

    In your recommendation section, you have a question that doesn’t end with a question mark: “But when should you choose iSEEK and specifically when should you choose iSEEK Web and iSEEK Education.” There are also a few other errors in this paragraph and it’s a bit choppy to read, so you may want to look the whole thing over once more.

    Structure and Organization: I think you used headings well, but there are some areas of your paper that may be easier to read if you broke up the paragraphs into sections or used bullets or numbering. Your disadvantages section, for example, is a big block of text right now. Perhaps breaking it up into bullet points and describing each point below would be more helpful for the reader. You could look to implement this anywhere you’re listing off features, advantages, disadvantages, etc throughout your chapter.

    Links & images: I thought you used them appropriately, but I think some of the screen shots were too small for their purpose. In the iViews section, for example, you show a screenshot of the results and say “As you can see, the results aren’t relevant,” but the screenshot is too zoomed out to read any words on the screenshot. I think it would be beneficial to zoom in on the results so the screenshot can be read by the reader.

    Informs and Evaluation- I think you do a good job of explaining the different features of iSEEK and you clearly did some research on the site. I think your informs and methods of evaluation are there, they just need to be easier to read through which I think can be accomplished by cleaning up the writing and sentence structure a little bit.

    Content requirements- It seems to be a good length to adequately discuss the tool and the specific features it offers.

    Overall, this is a solid start to your chapter! Nice work.

  2. jfarran on December 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm says:

    I think you have an extremely solid start to this chapter, excellent work!

    Looking at the introduction I really like all the links you included. I think you describe everything you need to about the site and give a good overview. The last paragraph could maybe use a little re-wording when you talk about the “results are safety guaranteed” it is a little confusing but would be okay if you decide it makes sense when you read it again.

    In your first content section I thought of a few key things you could include to make your chapter better. i think it would be valuable if you included a quick bulleted list of operators that work with iSeek. Maybe it’d be better to include these at the end in an index or appendix but that would be helpful to the user. you also describe the URL tool, I think it would be a good idea if you showed some of the search results as well and evaluated these.

    When you do show the query [hotel industry size] you get really poor results with the initial search. I think you should also show an example where you don’t get quite as bad results as you got from this query. Right off the bat it makes me think that iSeek isn’t going to give me relevant results unless I do more work and filter through things on the side.

    On a quick side note, you discuss many features that are available if you log in. It might be valuable to actually describe the log in/registration process and to highlight some other features that are available to registered users. You do go through an example of one or two features so maybe just a quick bulleted list of other features that people can check out on their own if they like.

    I think your comparison to Google section is very strong. I think all the content is great, my only suggestion is to try and break up the large blocks of text with some kind of graphic (picture, chart, bullets, etc.).

    You have a great start to your chapter I think with a few tweaks you’ll have an awesome finished product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *