Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What's a Swicki?

A swicki is a search tool that allows the creation of deep, focused searches on any topic. Swickis are a new type of search engine or search results aggregator developed at Eurekster.

Unlike other search engines, a specific community has control over swicki results and uses the collective wisdom of a community to improve the search results. This resulting search engine, or swicki, can then be published on any web site. The swicki presents search results of interest in, pulls in new relevant information as it is indexed, and organizes it in a customizable widget that can be placed on a web site or blog. A "buzz cloud" is used to constantly update to show the hot search terms in the community.

Here's how Eurekster describes it:

"Joining the personal Web publishing phenomenon on blogs, podcasts, wikis and websites is the swicki - a next-generation search engine that gives personal and small-business Web publishers the power to design and deliver results tailored to their community's specific interests. A blend between a search engine and a wiki."

So, swickis are like wikis in that they are created by one person, but then can be set to allow lots of others to get involved. Currently, swickis automatically and anonymously learn from the search patterns of the community of users. Future features will allow the community to actively change the search results by explicitly deleting and promoting results. Creators will be able to control collaboration so one of the following occurs:

  • Only the creator can actively and passively influence the swicki
  • Only the creator can actively influence the swicki and everyone's behavior passively influences the swicki
  • More than one person can actively influence the swicki,and everyone's behavior passively influences the swicki
  • Everyone can actively and passively influence the swicki

The creator populates the site with the most common URLs for the community as well as the most common "buzz cloud" terms. As searches are preformed, the most commonly searched terms become quick links in the buzz cloud list. Setting up a Swicki is simple. It took me less that 5 minutes to create Open Source Systems for Libraries.

For More Information

LibraryCrunch's Library 2.0 swicki. An excellent library example put together by Michael Casey.

Luther L. Gobbel Library
of Lambuth University Sphere: Related Content

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