4 Responses to Search vs. Query

  1. wordwhacky 2011/07/14 at 02:33 #

    Excellent article, it sums up the nuances of search and query.

    I think query is the future of search. As technical writers, it is our responsibility to make the content query ready. How we achieve query ready content lies in the metadata.

    Thank you for the good read.

    • Mark Baker 2011/07/17 at 21:30 #

      Hi wordwhacky,

      Thanks for the comment. Certainly, on the production side we would benefit greatly from making our content query ready. On the delivery side, though, I think search will remain king. The problem on the delivery side is not to make the content capable of being queried, but to make the reader capable of forming useful queries.

  2. Yuriy Guskov 2011/07/14 at 02:59 #

    Search Vs. Query is full analogy of General Vs. Specific, which inherent to everything where we confront human-friendly forms (usually, it is natural language) and computer-friendly forms. You correctly noticed in one of your posts that computers force us to make data precise, to set exact correspondence for symbols, etc. But I see the biggest problem that there is no bridge between general and specific forms, a sort of compromise, ability to balance and make data more general or more specific, when we need it. And who said it is impossible? In fact, high-level programming languages is such a form, hypertext is too.

    Today, to use queries instead of search, you need to know rules, that is, a sort of metadata. To use search instead of queries, an application should provide a sort of “flat” access to data (as if, all data is plain text). It is not enough, and it may require resources and be difficult to implement. One of possible solution is fine-grained compatibility (you may see it as “one field compatibility”) vs. monolithic formats, which consists of a lot of metadata. Of course, it should be supported by identification, which would allow to make plain text more precise and make data more general.

    • Mark Baker 2011/07/17 at 21:39 #

      Yuri,
      Thanks for the comment. Have you read David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous? He has much to say on the virtues of the general and the flat, and on the useful limits of the specific and the structured.