The National Academies Press

About Web Search Builder

One of NAP's research tools, the Web Search Builder is designed to help you create rich searches that will use targeted search terms to find exactly what you're looking for in Google Web, Google Scholar, Google Books, Yahoo Web, and MSN Web, as well as the NAP's 5000+ books.

How It Works

The Web Search Builder is used in conjunction with Reference Finder. Once you've submitted text, the Web Search Builder extracts key phrases and builds rich searches for various search engines. Each search is made up of two key phrases, which you can easily edit using the list of related terms in the right-hand sidebar, or by adding your own terms. By using tailored, paired key phrases, your results will be significantly more relevant to your search.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get those key phrases?

Since 2001, we've been developing textual analysis tools to help improve knowledge discovery within our unique collection of 5000+ reports. Algorithmic key phrase weighting was a necessary precondition, so we developed an approach that takes into account word frequency, phrase frequency, term placement, co-occurrence with other significant terms, containing-sentence significance, and other factors, to give individual phrases a "significance weight" within the context of the chapter or article. This allows us to extract the top N phrases for a given chunk of ASCII text, which we can apply to Chapter Skim, Reference Finder, and Web Search Builder.

But don't you want to keep me on your site?

We believe that if these tools are useful, you'll return to take advantage of them.

What else do you do with those phrases?

We have three other primary applications:

  • As an adjunct to full-text searching, in the backend of our book search engine.
  • As the key element in Chapter Skim, we we can identify on every chapter page the two-sentence chunk containing the highest value of high-value phrases, providing a proxy for skimming.
  • As the key backend system for building the Reference Finder.

Is this open source? Where can I get this software?

Currently, you can't — it has been written in Perl as a set of operational tasks, suited to our peculiar structure, needs and purposes. Most of the underlying code has been written by Michael Jensen who, while not a professional programmer, uses code to solve publishing problems. The code wouldn't pass Perl/Javascript 101 for elegance, but it gets the job done. We are willing, even interested, in making parts of this tool (for example, the keyphrase-weighter and extractor) available in open source, so it could be improved by real programmers with a purpose, and thus made more efficient and worthy of reuse by others. See Michael's page to contact him about this option, if you're interested.

Can I link to the Web Search Builder from my own site?

Please do. We hope to see this tool being widely used to assist in better use of our publications, and the content within them. Simply copy the URL listed in your browser.