FAQ

About 2dSearch

Q. What is 2dSearch?

A. 2dSearch is a framework for solving complex search challenges.

 

Q. What is a search strategy?

A. A search strategy is a structured method for solving a complex search challenge. It combines the key elements of your search challenge in order to retrieve accurate, repeatable results. Search strategies are typically used to find documents, but can also be used to find people (e.g. via their social profiles). Some search strategies take the form of ‘Boolean strings’. 

 

Q. Who is it aimed at?

A. 2dSearch is aimed at anyone who wants to solve complex search challenges. These include ‘traditional’ information professions such as scientific research, legal research and patent search, and also emerging sectors such as media monitoring and recruitment/sourcing. 

 

Q. What makes 2dSearch different?

A. Instead of a one-dimensional search box, concepts are expressed on a two-dimensional canvas. Relationships are expressed using drag and drop. This eliminates many sources of syntactic error and helps make the semantics transparent. 2dSearch also offers automated query suggestions and support for the sharing of ready-made templates and best practices. 

 

Q. Is 2dSearch free to use?

A. Yes. 

 

Q. How do I log in?

A. You can authenticate using your Google account or create a new one specifically for the purpose. 

 

Q. Can I save my work?

A. Yes. Once you have logged in, you will have your own file space for saving search strategies. 

 

Q. Can I share my work?

A. Yes, you can create a sharable link to any of your search strategies.

 

Q. What is the connection with Bing?

A. 2dSearch offers a new way to search databases, but is not a database in itself. We have chosen initially to integrate with Bing as it provides good support for Boolean queries and broad coverage of the web.

 

Q. Is Bing the only search engine I can use?

A. At the moment, yes. But in due course we will be rolling out other database integrations, and 2dSearch can be customised to search proprietary databases (for further details please contact us).

 

Q. Are you trying to replace librarians and information professionals?

A. Not at all. We would hope that 2dSearch would become a valuable complement to traditional library databases and methods, by providing enhanced ways to review, share and optimise search strategies. 

 

Q. WHAT is the science behind 2dsearch?

A. We have patents pending on the visual framework and the query suggestions algorithm. However, we remain committed to working closely with the scientific community and publishing as much of our work as possible in open access scholarly publications (for further details see our R&D page).

 

Using 2dSearch

Q. How do I open an existing search strategy?

A. Select ‘Open…’ from the main menu.

Note: to delete a strategy, simply select the trash can icon.

 

Q. How do I create a search strategy?

A. Select ‘New…’ from the main menu.  

Note: to add content see ‘How do I populate my first strategy’ below.

 

Q. How do I name my strategy or change the default operator?

A. At the top of the workspace you will see your search strategy name (new strategies are initially labelled ‘Unnamed’). Select the name and in the properties dialog rename it or change the default operator.

 

Q. How do I Save a strategy?

A. Select ‘Save’ from the main menu. Unsaved changes are identified by a red dot.

Note: To save your strategy as a new file, select the ‘Save As…’ option from the main menu. 

 

Q. How do I import an existing strategy?

A. Select ‘Import…’ from the main menu. This is useful if you want to re-use a strategy fragment in more than one place.

 

Q. How do I populate my first search strategy?

A. To add terms to the canvas, double click anywhere or right-click and select ‘Create term’ from the context menu.

 

Q. How do I add a group and edit its name and operator?

A. Right-click on the canvas and select ‘Create group’. Alternatively drag a term onto another term to create a new group.

Note: to change a group name or operator, simply click to edit. You can nest groups inside other groups using drag and drop.

 

Q. How do I negate a term/group?

A. To make a term or group negative (i.e. to apply a Boolean 'NOT'), right-click and select ‘Make negative’. To remove the NOT operator, right-click and select ‘Make positive’.

 

Q. How do I Enable/Disable aN ELEMENT?

A. To temporarily include / exclude a term or group from your strategy, right-click and select Enable or Disable from the menu. Alternatively, hold down <shift> and click to toggle it from enabled to disabled.

 

Q. WHAT ARE field tagS?

A. Field tags are operators that are specific to a particular database or search engine. For example, to configure Bing (or Google) to search linkedin.com:

  1. Add a term to the canvas and enter ‘linkedin.com’.
  2. Right-click on the term and select ‘Add field tag’ from the context menu.
  3. Enter the field tag ‘site:’.

Note: an existing field tag can be edited inline.

 

Q. How do I delete a term/group?

A. Right-click and select ‘Delete’. Alternatively, select the element and press <backspace> on the keyboard.

If you want to undo any operation use CTRL-Z on Windows or CMD-Z on a Mac. Alternatively, you can use the undo and redo buttons at the top of the workspace. 

 

Q. How do I get alternative suggestions for a term?

A. Right-click on a term and select ‘Suggest terms’.  Select the terms you want to include and choose ‘ADD SELECTED TERMS’.

 

Q. How do I expand and collapse groups?

A. To expand or collapse an individual group, select the control in the group's title. Alternatively, to expand and collapse all groups, use the + and - buttons at the bottom left of the canvas. 

 

Q. How do I zoom the canvas?

Hold down <ctrl> and scroll your mouse wheel up or down.

 

Q. How do I share a strategy with a colleague?

Select the Share button at the top of the workspace.