Tag Archives: undergraduate

Who is Gerald? What is search?

Background info on Gerald Murphy

My name is Gerald Murphy. I am a Final Year Student at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and I am completing a dissertation on search engines. An undergraduate dissertation, 12000 words in length, counts as two taught units. As well as the dissertation, I study four other taught units:

  • Designing Online Learning
  • Human and Financial Resources Management
  • Learning and Professional Development
  • Media Law

What is search?

Simply put, search is the ability to find information on the web. Finding this information usually involves a search engine. A search engine is a complex collection of documents which have been crawled by a special program (called a bot, or spider) owned by that search engine. The bot’s job is to mine the text within websites, store these related terms in an inverted index, assign asset numbers to each of these terms, and match these terms to a user’s query.

Whenever you use a search engine (e.g. Google) you are searching that search engines interpretation of the web. You are not really searching the whole web because you are looking at results that search engine’s bot has found. For this reason, you never really search the web.

Manchester Metropolitan University, MMU

My undergraduate bachelor’s degree is entitled Information and Communications which is situated in the (fairly new) Department of Information and Communications, Languages witin MMU.

The keyword here is information. We study what makes information so important. So, from the network people need to use to connect to another computer, to the laws (e.g. Copyright, and the bundle of rights) that apply to a new creation which has been created by a computer, as well as search, website design, amongst other things. In other words, if a technology has information, we study that information. Where is the info going? What is it doing? What if…?

What is this blog all about?

This blog has been created for one reason: to share a passion for search. I want to share the findings I have made, or some of the knowledge I have generated by searching journals and books as part of my research, for example. In many ways, I want to share knowledge itself — giving everyone the information to make up their own mind.

If you want to get in touch, or if you have a question, please feel free to comment on this blog (or e-mail if you wish to remain anonymous). A contact form is available from the contact me page!

Dissertation aim and objectives to follow.

PS, welcome to my blog