Semantic Searching


If you’re still coming to grips with whether to choose Google or Yahoo as a search engine, and struggling to come to grips with the dynamics of Boolean search structure, take a look at Quintura, a semantic search engine from Russia.

Whenever we use a search engine, we have a concept in mind. The concept is usually fairly complex, consisting of a lot of pre-existing relationships we have made mentally. When we use a conventional search engine we normally distill the concept/idea we are searching for down to the broadest possible phrase, both out of a desire to be inclusive in our search, and out of a reluctance to expend too much effort in constructing our search.

A semantic search takes the effort (and time) out of searching in this manner. In Quintura, as you click on words that define the concept, they get added to your query, causing the words in your map to update and restrict the focus of your search, allowing you to quickly and graphically structure very specific queries. The theory is that clicking through a semantic map will allow you to spend less time sifting through irrelevant results.

Here’s a screen shot to illustrate what you see – in this case, from a search that began with a simply search on the topic of ‘cars’, showing the semantic map of search terms that is being generated on the left, and the actual search results accumulating on the right:


You can view a series of screen shots from the Quintura site, or there are a couple of animated demos that you can view. There’s a free download of the software as well – although it won’t work on my Mac at this stage (guess I’ll have to wait!).

3 thoughts on “Semantic Searching

  1. Hi Derek, thanks for the pointer. I downloaded it and was really impressed with Qunitura’s easy interface and the way it narrowed down the search to the most likely one or two sites. I think this tool will be great in primary schools because of its word cloud look, it gives the user great key word choices and then teaches the user how to refine their search. For kids, less is sometimes better and Google can be quite overwhelming. I think it has a place on my school’s desktop as soon as I can distibute it across the network. I think this could be a keeper. BTW, looking forward to hearing you speak in Adelaide in July at CEGSA.

  2. Hi Yakov
    thanks for this link – this only gets better!
    I’m very impressed with the online version you’ve created – and look forward now to seeing the English version when it is ready. Well done!

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