More to do, At IU, Cha Cha Cha

mdoneil writes “Indiana Univeristy is switching to ChaCha for search. Librarians will be powering the Human Powered Search.

I really have no idea what this means. The FAQs say:

What is the nature of the pilot project?

Deliverables for the pilot project (in development) will focus on:

Implementation of an IU-specific search site using ChaCha’s search engine and hosted by ChaCha,
ChaCha-enhanced search capabilities of the University Information Technology Services (UITS) Knowledge Base and “Ask A Librarian” services, including the option for live, expert-guided searches

The FAQ also lists the search URL as which for me loads almost nothing, or the raw HTML depending on which browser I use.

I tried their whitebar search from the home page it is still GSA, I tried ask a librarian and it looks like some Sirsi product, and I tried the IUTS kbase and it is Cha Cha but it is not anything more than an install of Lucene could do. Stemming works poorly, vpn OR broadband returned results for vpn AND or AND broadband. It tried to search for the OR. At least GSA can parse a Boolean query correctly.

I wonder if this is more work for the librarians, or simply a dog and pony show to replace their current Ask a librarian application.

I’m not impressed.

N.B there is some suggestion that there is some shady deal going on but I’m not interested in that part.”