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Location: Kyoto and Auckland
Work interests: research, editing, science communication
Affiliation/website: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
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Preferred contact language(s): English, German
Contact: email = researchcooperative-at-gmail-dot-com
Favourite publications: Various, and especially the open access versions of older journals with effective review systems

Founding Member



Work: ethnobotany, prehistory, museum curation
Affiliations: 1996-present: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. 1995: Freelance editor, Kyoto. 1994: JSPS Research Visitor, Kyoto University, Kyoto. 1993: Research Visitor, Australian National University, Canberra. 1991: Visiting Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.1990: STA Fellow, National Institute for Ornamental Plants, Vegetables, and Tea (NIVOT), Ano, Japan
Contact: National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka, Japan 565-8511
Biographical: Established the Research Cooperative in 2001
Favourite Publications: Various

How good are the search functions in our network?

user image 2013-09-06
By: Research Cooperative
Posted in: Research Co-op

NOTE: Members of the Research Cooperative are encouraged to reply to this post with feedback that I can transmit to our hosting company, Ning.com. Thank you in advance! Peter.

Ning is the company that hosts our network. I occasionally join the Ning Network Creators Group in order to participate in discussions about problems, fixes, and wished-for features. Over the years, the lack of Search functionality inside our network has been a major concern for me. Today, I posted the following message in reply to another Ning Network Creator's observation that: "UNACCEPTABLE NING SEARCH STILL BROKEN!!!"

Peter wrote:

1. Overall site search (top right) on my Ning 2 network works well.

2. Member search works well.

3. Forum search works not at all. Zilch, which-ever way I try it.

Indexing problems appear and disappear over the years. Indexing seems to be an inherently unstable system that is nevertheless treatable. It should be more stable, but it is not entirely disfunctional.

The problem with search for forums (like the limitations on search inside groups) may be something that is hard-wired into the system.

I suspect that different groups of engineers have been working on different components of the whole Ning system without co-ordinating their efforts to maximise the functionality of search.

Search needs to be raised to a top level domain of Ning development. If Ning management do not have the resources to do this, they should ask Glam to give it special support.

Search development needs to be coordinated across all areas of the platform:

- from the level of how to find Ning networks from outside of Ning,

- to the level of how to find specific kinds of information in specific kinds of content inside each network, and

- to the level of how search and find all advertisments on a site (some users and visitors might be into that, if it could be made possible). It would be good if there was any industry standard for setting different levels of advertising intensity, so that users could set a preference (on their browser for example) and take in more or take in less. My impression is that there is still a lot of room for invention in how advertising can be used to positively enhance the user experience of social networks.

- to the level of the user test-panels and in-site direct feedback.

It would be great if Network Creators could get hosting discounts in return for allowing Ning to (temporarily) install instant-feedback popup windows that are seen by all the various kinds of visitors that come to our networks.

Ning has an original and unique platform, and should be able to generate some valuable patents for itself if it can truly challenge the issue of social search. People have been talking about this problem in the world of social networks generally.

I want Ning to succeed, and for that Ning needs a search system that beats out the rivals.

Incidentally, the very low usage of my network over the years (despite thousands of people joining, with some kind of hope or anticipation) is probably to a large extent due to the crippling effects of disfunctional search inside the forums.

I don't know any better system, so that's why I have stayed with Ning, despite dissatisfaction with the search functions from the very start.

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