Thursday, 7 June 2007

FOCUSS your internet searches

Brussels, 6 June. During the open space, Richard Lalleman and Michel Wesseling presented their ongoing work to build a customised search engine for development information FOCUSS.

With the release of FOCUSS, a unique cooperative initiative has been established between 23 organisations in the development arena. Partners include: AllianceSud, ATOL, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), Euforic, ICCO, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Institut Universitaire d'Études du Développement (IUED), Royal Tropical Insitute (KIT), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

Focuss provides a content specific search engine in the area of global development studies. Other than generic search engines, it indexes on one hand electronic resources selected by librarians, researchers and practitioners working in participating institutions, and on the other hand the bookmarks of individual researchers, students and practitioners.

Recent research whereby people rated the results of Google and FOCUSS without knowing the source showed that the information provided by FOCUSS was more relevant.

In a recent video interview for the e-collaboration blog, Michel Wesseling explains what FOCUSS is, and what the challenges are in building a customised search engine.

FOCUSS is slowly growing, and needs more people to help build the right links, as well as people who use the search engine. The group suggested to make a toolbar for the FOCUSS search engine, like the Google toolbar. That would lower the threshold to search for information via FOCUSS.

What you can do: Share your bookmarks by using the Google Marker (click here); insert the FOCUSS search engine in your website (get the code here).

Story by Richard Lalleman and Joitske Hulsebosch

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