Thursday, January 18, 2007

FOCUSS a search engine for development using Google Coop

Michel Wesseling of the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague gave a presentation during our meeting on January 12th. He talked about their efforts to create a search engine for development called FOCUSS. We interviewed him afterwards so that others who were not present at the meeting can also learn about Focuss! Here's a summary of what he says in the video interview, but you are invited to listen to him by clicking on the triangle.

Why do we need a specialised search engine like FOCUSS?

If you want to have specialised answers from a search engine, you need to limit the number of resources that are indexed in a search engine. With FOCUSS we want to create a subject-oriented search engine for development studies.

How does FOCUSS work?

We started about a year ago. We use google coop. We work with librarians of 15 different institutions who select websites to be included and bookmarks of practitioners are also indexed in the FOCUSS search engine.

What are challenges to make FOCUSS work?

You'd expect that developing the technology is a challenge but the biggest challenge, however, is to get people to work together. To stimulate them to make bookmarks is the biggest challenge. So now one colleague will work one day per week on marketing and stimulating people.

When can we start using FOCUSS?

Today! You can go to It's operational. In the help and about pages you can find information on how you can contact us to contribute to make FOCUSS more worthy for the development studies.


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