Judging a book by it’s cover, literally, is never a good thing.
I should know. Some of the best books I’ve read had nothing to do with my liking their cover.
However, when presented with the NJIT new books shelf, you cannot but judge them by the covers (and titles).
But in some ways, I love this! it’s so much better than a stupid search engine interface that expects you to always KNOW what you are searching for. Somewhere, in this mad rush towards optimization, we lost one of the best things about “search”. The very basic idea, that you want to search for things in a human manner (opposed to a mechanical manner). You, as a person, know what you want, but don’t really know. You have this over-all idea that want to fine-tune it a bit further … or might be the only search parameter you have is “got 2 hours before the next flight, what can I read”
Sort of like a drill-down approach … where is that approach?
I know it somehow existed with the Yahoo directory, and does exist with Amazon and Netflix. But where is drill-down for the web?
How can I drill-down to search for Bangalore-born 20-something software developers with their own startups? Where can I?
From my perspective, there are only a few major ways to search …
1) The stupid way. You know what you want, all you need help for is to categorize and optimize the choices. Google, MSN, et al allow this.
2) The Drill-down way. It exists, but within closed categories/subjects only (as noted, drill-down within books = Amazon. Within Movies = IMDB (broken, but it’s all there is). Within Music = musicstrands.com might work, high initial over-head)
4) Pre-defined Directory. Yahoo Directory, About.com, or the better one … Wikipedia (still too academic)
But I think there has to be more to searching that what we currently have.