With the sheer volume of information available along with the need to remain informed and aware of trends in areas of interest, search and discovery tools can provide information in a way that makes it meaningful, usable, and accessible.
flickr image by woodleywonderworks
Romain Goday provides a useful table comparing the processes of search and discovery, which highlight the main differences. In a nutshell to search is to locate information for a specific purpose at a particular point in time using standard search engines, databases or library catalogues to assist. By comparison, to discover refers to the aggregation of information that is newly published, ongoing, and pertinent to the user’s topic.
As discovery is a developing area, it’s useful to learn more about the tools you can use to help information seekers reach their goal. This is often centred around finding out more about a broad concept rather than something more specific.
To try this out search for ‘social media’ in the following discovery engines to see what results you get:
- Trap!t - For this one you need to create an account. This allows you to ‘trap’ results and continues to send updated content to your email
- Similar pages -
- Similar site search
You will have noticed that each of these tools allows you to enter a specific URL or tags/keywords.
I found Trap!t the most versatile. Each search returns 100 results presented visually with the useful function of being able to save specific traps, which continue to send you current content via email, Facebook or Twitter. Other features include the ability to identify the newest articles within a trap. Trap!t’s founders like to think of it not as a search tool, but as “… a real-time discovery engine — a way to find content you may not have even known you wanted.”