site search relevance

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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:01 pm site search relevance

Postby lastj » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:36 pm

Hi there everyone,
For a number of years I have enjoyed looking up talks on the website. Usually when I want to find a talk, I have a very immediate, personal need and desire to find information from church leaders on various gospel topics. What I have begun to notice is that the search results, from the main site search, are not very good. The results are often times not relevant, and it seems as if the search algorithm implemented is just not bringing back the desired results. I feel that an improvement in the search algorithm for the website would be extremely useful to me, and I suppose to all who are seeking relevant talks. I'll give an example: If I enter tithing into the search bar, I expect to see a list of talks and other materials that focus on tithing. It seems that audio and visual results are often very relevant, but the talks often times really have nothing to do with tithing. It seems as if the search algorithm is just looking for how many times tithing is mentioned, or something similar, but many of the talks do not have a major focus on tithing. When I search for tithing, I would expect to see all of the best talks on tithing. Another example: I just searched for "the atonement", and most of the talks don't look like their major focus is the atonement.

One more example to hopefully show the weakness of the current search system. When I type "work" into the search box, I as the user am probably wanting to find talks and other resources on working hard, work in the gospel, and simply the importance of work. I entered work into the search bar, and clicked on General Conference to make sure all of the results were basically talks, and here is the list of talks I received:

See Others as They May Become - (the major focus is not work)
God Be with You Till We Meet Again - (the major focus is not work)
Welcome to Conference - (almost nothing to do with work)
Consider the Blessings - (work is only mentioned ONE time in this talk)
As We Gather Once Again - (irrelevant)
Relief Society: A Sacred Work - (the first borderline-relevant talk)

As you can see, the most relevant talks are definitely not appearing first. I really feel that the site search algorithm needs to be improved somehow, and if it were it would be a great blessing to everyone.

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Re: site search relevance

Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:38 pm

I have also struggled with the search engine. Sometimes, I'll resort to using the Google search engine with the term to find what I'm seeking.

There is hope, however. Two months ago, the LDSTech broadcast presented a glimpse into a project they are working on called The Gospel Topics Explorer, or GTE for short. Since then, they have put up a GTE Beta website where folks can play withe various features. This is very early development (might be more accurately labeled an Alpha site), but they are working on improving the engine, expanding the search term library and adding additional content, such as conference talks. When completed, I think it will make an outstanding tool for personal study, lesson planning and preparing talks.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

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Re: site search relevance

Postby lastj » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:52 pm

Sounds great! I communicated with the church and they are definitely aware of the problem

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Re: site search relevance

Postby barkeraj » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:26 pm

Some significant search related stuff will be happening in the near future. Lots of work is going into search and hopefully it will start to pay off soon.

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