RealTime IT News

Grokker Schools Students on Meta-Search

Search software vendor Groxis announced Tuesday the launch of Grokker E.D.U., a search-and-research software platform that adds a new dimension to research for students.

Grokker categorizes search results and delivers them in visual maps that show their relationships. Grokker E.D.U., which is built on Grokker 2.2, is optimized for students to do research using special libraries and proprietary databases, as well as the Web.

"Students and researchers are less interested in going to Google, but rather to connecting to important research sources," said Groxis CEO R.J. Pittman.

To that end, Grokker E.D.U. provides access to multiple data sources while acting as a meta-search tool for the major search engines, including MSN, Yahoo and Google. Students can log on with a password and use Grokker E.D.U. without having to identify which data source might have the best results, Pittman said. Instead, one query will return the most relevant results from any libraries, databases and third-party sources to which the school subscribes.

Pittman said that Groxis' approach of grouping search results by related topics works well for researchers and students.

"In research, it's not about finding a specific document, it's about acquiring a body of knowledge on the subject matter," he said. "By putting it all into a Grokker map, you can get at those results quicker and have more directed navigation."

Grokker E.D.U. also lets users save and share their mapped search results.

Grokker E.D.U. is licensed to schools and includes plug-ins for Google, The Web (a combination of other search engines), Amazon.com, plus custom plug-ins for specific educational environments. It also offers MyFiles, which is a desktop search plug-in.

For example, the Stanford implementation lets all students, faculty and staff search Socrates, the Stanford Library information system; High Wire Press; Academic Research Premier; the Library of Congress; and Cross Search, a federated search plug-in that combines search results from all sources in a single view. Grokker E.D.U. was developed in partnership with Stanford.

Pittman said enabling meta-searches of multiple databases solves another problem for educational institutions. "They're not sure the usage justifies paying for all the data sources," he said. Stanford found that its pricey specialized data sources were being overlooked because students were used to searching via Google. Providing quick and easy access to them via Grokker could motivate students to use the databases, he said.

Groxis said more than 70,000 students at universities, high schools and middle schools are using Grokker E.D.U. The include school districts in Florida, Indiana, New Mexico and New York, in addition to Stanford.