These are my thoughts on building a multi-directory search portal.

Introduction:

At the most basic level this would mean that with one search box and one search, you would search the indexes of 2 or more similar web directories.

Such a portal could exist on either it’s own domain or on a subdomain. Domain is probably better should other directories come along.  (Random thought: Could portal be part of Indieweb.xyz?)

Minimalist or Portal?

Minimalist example would be search.yahoo.com which is just an uncluttered search box vs. yahoo.com which is a full blown portal considered cluttered by some.

Unifying the Search

My suggestion, and it is just a suggestion, is to beta test with a free open source crawling site search that can be set to index more than one domain like either phinde or sphider.  One of these might work perfectly or will show it’s limitations but the learning experience of trying these first will be useful prior to coding a custom search.  (What would be icing on the cake is if Chrome based browsers would recognize this search form and allow you to add the search to the browser.  Search installed on a person’s browser gets higher use.)

Optional Portal Features:

  1. Cross Index of Categories:  I already touched upon my idea under “categorization systems” here.  This could be on separate pages from the search form above.  I kinda like this idea: no scripts just a page of plain HTML so low overheard and cost, it might encourage people to browse rather than search deeper into both directories.
  2. Web Search Form: Example: Searxscript.) Not sure what i think of this.  On some level you are competing against yourself. OTOH you are giving the user more reasons to use your portal.  I have done this before with both dropdown menu and radio buttons on the search form and very few people used it.
  3. Leverage RSS Feeds:  Use headline feeds from our blogs, and newest listings to keep portal fresh and not just a searchbox.  Free.

I’m not married to any of this.  Just throwing out ideas as they flit through my brain-pan.

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