I have always been a fan of the idea of creating a mediated search engine – one in which the results have been reviewed in order to ensure a lean, relevant results list.

The reality of the idea is, shall we say, a different matter.  The process is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and usually falls short in the relevance category.

Springo may be the reality that falls closer to the ideal.  Focusing on topic-based searches, they provide results that reflect sites that people most use when they are seeking solutions to more generalized questions, such as e-mail software, movie reviews, or open source software.

The results aren’t perfect, but they do appear relevant.  Most of what I notice are the sites I would expect to be top-tier, but aren’t.  It is a great resource, especially for those who might otherwise find it challenging to wade through several dozen results to find what they need.

My other observation is that I almost immediately began to use the URL to form my search strings, rather than use the provided interface.  It just seems faster and easier to do so.  Plus, it would be nice to be able to right-click (Windows-centric) in order to open results in a new tab.  Minor quibbles, though, for an effective tool that has been a long time coming.

found via Library Journal (print edition, 1 November 2009)

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