10/27/2009

Contextual search within Wikipedia


We are excited to announce that we've built a Custom Search Wikipedia skin that makes it easier for you to complete your research on Wikipedia. Wikipedia allows users to register and personalize their Wikipedia environment via the configuration of options and the use of styles or skins. Just log in to Wikipedia, enable the Custom Search skin and you'll have quick access to relevant Google Custom Search results from Wikipedia. With the Custom Search skin, your search results are conveniently placed inline on the page. After you've reviewed the results, you can dismiss them and return to the current article of interest without having to switch to a different tab on your browser; you can access the relevant Wikipedia articles right within the Wikipedia interface.

The Custom Search skin also features contextual search — searching across different sets of pages as you navigate Wikipedia. For Wikipedia pages with a lot of information and links, contextual search lets you limit your search to only those Wikipedia pages that are linked from the current article, focusing the results on the topic of the article. So, in addition to getting all matching Wikipedia articles, you can quickly drill down to contextually relevant results using the Linked Wikipedia Pages tab.

For example, searching for [sequence] from a Wikipedia page on DNA provides a list of relevant results about DNA sequences and DNA sequence alignment, instead of the many pages about sequences (in mathematics, poetry, music, games, etc.) that aren't relevant. Similarly, searching within the DNA page for [bonds] gives you results in chemistry and biochemistry, instead of other information about financial instruments and social sciences. This will help you perform more directed research, often with shorter queries, and get to relevant Wikipedia articles faster.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the Linked Wikipedia Pages tab helps you get quickly to the article about DNA sequence from a search for [sequence] on the DNA page.


To configure the new skin, follow the instructions on the Custom Search skin page on Wikipedia. It works with both Wikipedia's default Monobook style or the new Beta Vector style. You will need to log in to Wikipedia to customize your Wikipedia search.

For more information about the technology behind this application release, read our post on the Google Custom Search blog.

Wikipedia encourages technical innovation and tools to help you get improved access to knowledge, so please post your opinions about this contextual search experience at Wikimedia or give us feedback directly.

Last Friday was the third anniversary of the launch of Custom Search — we would like to take a moment to thank the millions of you who have implemented Custom Search on your sites. To celebrate our birthday we're releasing two new features that we hope will help you better customize your search results: Custom Search Themes and Structured Custom Search. Check out this post on the Google Custom Search blog to learn more about our third anniversary.






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