Explaining how search engines work
January 17, 2012 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Explaining how search engines work
with a mecha-spider marionette.

Took me forever, but I finally finished editing The Media Show's episode on how search engines work. Between my dissertation (which I completed with MeFi's generous and extensive help), a bit of research I did on Second Life's transition from its original search engine to a Google-run one, and talking with a number of educators, it became clear that there's a big need to educate about how search engines work, and not altogether too many resources to do it with. I was jonesing to use Tetanus, our spider marionette, in another episode once we built hir for our episode on where spam comes from, so this seemed like a logical next step.

We tried to address and dismiss misconceptions (what's on your computer versus what's in the cloud, when the data is searched for and where, etc), and visualize things whenever possible to make it easier to understand. I'd love to hear feedback from educators/librarians/etc. who think this episode might be useful to them, particularly if there's other things you'd like us to make episodes about. (Or if anyone has recommendations for funding. Need to make this show self-sustaining and grow it.)

Yeah, I know, we didn't talk about how databases work at all, and that's a huge part of it... probably a topic for another episode. I do try to keep things short, whenever I can avoid my natural tendency towards verbosity/blithering, and I'm proud we made it in under five minutes on this episode.

Things that distracted me in the meantime and made this take longer: nonsensical one-off videos on Cab Calloway and Slavoj Zizek, and finishing a chiptune version of a song by the guy who wrote the Armenian national anthem.
Role: Writer, editor, puppeteer, animator
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