It can be difficult to find the right search solution for a college, university, or other educational institution so that users can gather the information they need to succeed. The right search solution affects multiple types of users, including current students, prospective students, their parents, and anyone who works at the affected institution, so it’s critical to find a search option that can cater to all these parties.
Specific Search Solution Issues for Educational Institutions
Thanks to a wide range of users, educational institutions can amass a hodge-podge of different sites. These can include main “marketing” sites, individual department sites, and student/faculty pages. This assortment of sites with different functions and capabilities can prove problematic for search functions.
Another issue is that these sites can be targeted to different types of users. The marketing site can be directed toward prospective students and their parents. Student and faculty pages may be designed for use of a group of people with individual logins. Each one of these sites need to provide its users with results that match their intent. For example, a “marketing” site should help users find information on the school itself, whereas an internal login for the school library’s site should returns results for documents, books, and other files in the library’s database.
Along with the wide variety of sites, there’s also the possibility that different departments might run their own sites. This means that the institution needs a search solution that is powerful enough to handle many files, as well as flexible enough to match the needs of each different department and its users.
Search Appliance Solutions for College and University Sites
With the wide range of potential sites and users, a high-performance search solution that can allow multiple administrative users is in order. In this setup, these users can be delegated permissions on specific areas of the index or specific settings. For example, a College of Medicine might administer its own search while still feeding results into the main University Search. There could also be a situation where one user may be responsible for the look and feel of a search while somebody else oversees the actual crawling of the search.
The range of potential sites and audiences can also be addressed with the ability to promote particular pages for specific searches, including custom messages in the search results page. For example, a search for “Admissions” could link to the appropriate page with a specific message with it, or a search for the sports team could show the latest scores or schedule. That will provide each audience with customized results that can improve their overall search experience.
If you need powerful customizable search solutions for your school, Thunderstone can help. High-performance solutions like our parametric search appliance or the highly-customizable Webinator web index and retrieval software can help your users find what they need, no matter which one of your sites they’re using. Contact us online or give us a call at 216-820-2200 to start the process of getting a customized search solution that’s built for your institution’s needs.