We Want to Know: What Words Help Your Search?

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

What are the keywords you use when searching AAPG’s websites?

We want to know. Really.

Because as we work toward the goal of making the AAPG website more science- and user-centric, your feedback would help.

Taxonomy is going to be a core part of the AAPG website future. Tagging and categorizing information into large enough buckets to empower the user to find the information they need will be the result.

It also is the challenge.

The best illustration I know for this concept is my experience at one of my favorite sites: Amazon.com. Their use of taxonomy has created a search-based experience that guides me to the products I desire. When I’m shopping, I always start there.

The goal for the AAPG website is a similar experience – but focused on the science, services and products of the AAPG. The result being a website vital to the geoscience community. The first place to come for the industry.

Tag, You’re It!

According to our research, folksonomy and taxonomy are two ways to approach building your site’s vocabulary.

“Folksonomy” is what comes from bloggers, commenters and other contributors to a conversation. They have decided their own keywords, or tags, for the information they wrote.

Folksonomy is great for emerging terms, but the end result is unreliable. This is because one person might label something “hydraulic fracturing” and someone else might label it “hydrofrac, fracking, fracturing, fracing” – well, you know that debate.

As you can see, the tagging could be so varied that should you want to look for hydraulic fracturing information you may only get the one item labeled, while missing out on the many others provided in the diversity of tags used.

Who has that kind of crystal ball?

Taxonomy is the Thing

Imagine this.

You come to the AAPG website and are looking for information on unconventional exploration. Your objective is to simply learn more about emerging practices. Your experience is somewhere in the early stages of this discipline.

You hope to find a paper or news article that adds to your knowledge.

You enter “shale unconventional” for your search and the result gives you a combination of several articles that ran in the AAPG Bulletin, Search and Discovery and the AAPG EXPLORER.

But then you scroll down a little bit and see:

  • Two courses (one on shales and another on unconventionals), one field trip to the Marcellus shale and a GTW available for training and growing your skills.
  • Three books are available for purchase as a continued resource.
  • A discussion area devoted to this topic is available immediately where you can ask questions or offer your own thoughts.
  • A dozen or more names of AAPG members are available as consultants or for contract work.

All of this is organized and clearly labeled as opportunities to read, download, attend, connect or purchase.

Pipe Dream?

I don’t think so.

We are developing a list of tags and categories that provide a large enough spectrum of terms to make all information servable in this manner. The purpose of these terms is to tag every item within AAPG’s information so cross-referencing of science, people, places, events and services can now surface for the user.

Getting it right so it is meaningful to the industry is critical to bringing this in as a reality.

Thus the question: What are some of your favorite search terms? Is there slang or shorthand you’ve found within the folksonomy that might be wise to incorporate into such a system? What have you seen? What do you use?

Find this article on the AAPG web EXPLORER and send us your thoughts. Or look for the wwwUpdate blog and comment there.

Good browsing!

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