LiveSearch and Clustered Displays

I’ve written on my blog multiple times about “LiveSearch” or dynamically loaded results. While heavy on the server it does give an interesting feedback mechanism as you can instantly refine your search and possibly find things that may have been lost otherwise or have just taken too much time to get to.

Thom Hickey has recently created some mockups of LiveSearch with OCLC records including subject headings, etc. Here’s the two so far:

What you should be able to see is an index to all the records that a large public library holds in WorldCat. We’ve extracted all the 5-word phrases from authors, titles, statement of responsibilty, and subject fields. It’s a bit of trick to get the right phrase from the right manifestation from the right work to display. We get the speed by loading all the information into memory in several flat files, and generating the screens from those.

As cool as those are (I really like the clean results) what actually caught my attention in the post was a screenshot of a clustered livesearch.

OCLC Live Search Clustered

Casey recently posted here regarding clustered results and I think we may see much more of it in the future. With the increasing amount of information there is going to have to be more ways of drilling down and refining the content. And I’m not just talking the generic OPAC advanced search but more informative things such as what subjects are included, editions, popularity, relationships, etc. Limiting it to books or articles is nice but having hints and clues such as keywords and subjects adds the touch some people need to really make things relevant.

As I’ve written here before though, you have to be careful not to make things overly complicated. The results screen should probably avoid looking like a space shuttle cockpit. What do you think should be included in a results screen?

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