towards a blog~wiki

Nilesh wrote about Wikis, and the need for keyword based browsing in a weblog. A discussion followed in the comments on that entry, and it seems there are quite a few people who like the Wiki concept, but are intimidated by usage.

Wikis are really useful for learning stuff, because of the way content is divided in to sizable, highly interlinked chunks of information. Jumping from one chunk to other is one action - a simple click. But for readers who want to "learn" stuff on a weblog, they do have the search engine at hand, but it's still too complex - yet another text box to fill, and a button to press.

Here's my attempt at getting creating a "random interlinking" access functionality. Double click any word on this page, and you'll get the search results for that word (try adsystem), listing all the entries on my site that mention that word. (I found this idea in use at PriceWatch.com - they use it screen brandnames.) This reduces the action of searching into a hyperlink-click like action, but at the same time keeps all the structure and functionality of the blog intact. Thus, you can move around reading stuff about related topics using single and double clicks.

However, this works only for single words, not phrases. The only way I could figure to do phrases was this: Select the phrase, and click the search button, without typing anything into the box. It'll search for the phrase. Try really cool and you'll know how often I use that phrase :)

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About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.

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