So Search Beta was released in conjunction with the new top hat design for OSU (another change as part of future upcoming changes). A great effort between Central Web Services (otherwise known as CWS) and Web Communications. The same collaborative group that introduced OSU Mobile. Don’t know about OSU Mobile? Well for that, visit m.oregonstate.edu (iPhone, Palm Pre, Android and some Blackberry), and I’m sure we’ll be talking about that in other OSU CWS blog posts, so stay tuned.
So what is Search Beta? It’s just that, it’s really Beta. We are transitioning information, crawls, features from the Google Search Appliance to the User Interface for search. It’s not perfect, not everything will be found right now.
So you might be wondering about how that affects search on your site pages, which uses the central code provided by CWS. Because we have a front end to search, we are able to make it as transparent as possible to site owners. The goal is sites shouldn’t need to be modified, if they use the search module integration CWS has provided and made available previously. Integration with Drupal sites will be upcoming, so if your site is not showing results because it has not been indexed, do not worry, we’ll be rolling the Drupal change in soon. After that there are a couple things that need to happen. First if you are running what we call a virtual host, like hmsc.oregonstate.edu or in a path in oregonstate.edu/, the Google search has to find your site possibly linked from other sites and index the site. This is the engine part of the appliance, and Google does a fairly good job with this. The process could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the algorithms Google uses to find new pages. Anything in the oregonstate.edu/ area is continuously crawled. There are exceptions (and reasons for exceptions), which we’ll be noting in the days to come and which we’ll talk more about in another post. Second, if your site is not found after a reasonable amount of time, then we can look at explicitly crawling your site. This is more common with virtual hosts. If that is the case just contact us using our online contact form, but first read the next post about exceptions to sites being crawled.
We’ll also be looking to get some input from users. You can comment here, or you can comment on the Web Communications blog, where there will also be information about the new home page that will be introduced this year. In addition to commenting, there will be some focus groups, which is another avenue to provide feedback. The focus groups will look at search among other things.
So when it comes to the OUS Search, we say Search Me.