This week we’ll pick up with Faceted Searching. I had to look this one up. It was an unknown term to me. Faceted searching is using a search result and refining it using provided parameters. As it turns out, we have all probably used a faceted search without knowing what is was called. For example, search an online retailer for a camera. The initial results set lists ALL cameras, but also include suggestions to trim the results set by brand (so all available brands are listed), by category (the different camera types available are all listed), and maybe even price point.
As it happens, our new MetaCard function does something similar to this. For example, Merlin can provide a results-set based on one piece of data, for example a country, and then return results that help you find other related content. Our MetaCard feature can be based on any field, and then it displays keywords that have been assigned based on the targeted field, country in this example. It is a pretty cool feature and helps to suggest other searches.
What makes Merlin really cool is that with a little thought, very specific searches using nested Boolean operators may be created. And while Merlin allows for field specific searching, Merlin also allows for field level searching to occur as part of these complex searches. Interested in finding all pictures by photographers Michael Kullen or David Breslauer, shot within a certain date and time range, at Monument Valley, but not at sunset (and you are not sure how to spell Breslauer)? Here is how to do it… Example: “Byline has (“Mike Kullen” or “David Bres*) Monument Valley not sunset”.
To add a field specific search, including a date or date range, set the date parameter in the date window (and this includes searching for information in the last N days. That’s it. On my Merlin demo system, I found 11 items and it took less than 4 seconds searching across 450,000 items.
Other search features I take for granted…Merlin searches singular and plural by default, but it is easy for a user to tell Merlin to return just singular items or just plural items. Also, Merlin DAM users can take advantage of a thesaurus that is easily customized. Some of our customers want to search using case sensitivity. Other sites wish not to. No problem, a simple Merlin configuration change allows sites to choose how they want to use Merlin.
Found something you like and want to see more? A simple click on the “More Like This” button returns results similar to the selected item based on metadata.
I always knew that we did powerful searching in Merlin. As we continue to develop Merlin for our digital asset management customers, and our legal customers who need to review documents, we find that the search tools for one have relevance for the other, and as we continue to move forward, both types of users will benefit from each other. One good example of this is the ability to suggest new search terms. Built for our legal review tool, this feature will find its way into our DAM product in the future.
So, if you add the great search tools to a powerful set of workflow tools (batch download, resize on download, linking, batch edit, project management tools and integration with a great assignment management system) you end up with a pretty compelling, but easy-to-use DAM solution.
Want to learn more, or see Merlin’s digital asset management solution in action? Contact me.
Posted by David Breslauer
Flickr photo by kennymatic