Search Engine for Instructional Information Launched

More instructional material on the Internet, this time wrapped up in a search engine. New engine ( gave me some odd results, but I like the way it offers additional topic keywords.

The first thing I did when I got to this site (simple keyword search) was run the Strawberry Shortcake Test. got a B- … There were plenty of Strawberry Shortcake recipes (How do I make Strawberry Shortcake?) but there were also some off-topic Web pages (including the intriguing “Unreal Tournament And Skins And Strawberry Shortcake” page, which I didn’t visit.)

You’ll notice on the search results page there are also sets of keywords that can narrow down your search. For example, my strawberry shortcake query brought me a What set (butter, berry, cake, flour, sugar, chicken(?!)), a Who set that was a bit odd (cobbler, batter, guest), a Why set (chill, baking, slice, sprinkle, stir), and Where (bakery, dairy, shop.) Click on a keyword and your search will be run again with that keyword included.

(I suspect that’s why some of the suggested searches on this site are so weird — “How to cook oatmeal in the microwave linear accelerator”??)

You can also see where those keywords are popping up. Next to every search result is an “X-Ray Spex” type icon of glasses. Click on it and the keyword sets will refresh. The keywords that appear in that search result will show in dark blue, while the other keywords will continue to show in light blue. I wish that the designer had chosen some other color besides dark blue — yellow, maybe — to make the keywords stand out more.

But actually that’s the only beef I have about the design of this site. I normally don’t have much comment about a site’s design, but this one I really like. It’s cartoony without being silly, easy to use without being overly-simplified. You may have to experiment with your searches a little to find good results, but I like the fact that suggested keywords are offered in such universal sets, and I like the “x-ray” feature that shows site keywords in suggested sets. Worth a look.

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