Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, October 7, 2002

Expert-based and Community Search Engine Service

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= interesting, promising
Search Engine

"The core of Wondir is people and organizations who are committed to helping others and who have a mission to reach out to others with relevant information and assistance -- in contrast to individuals who are trying to make money based on their ability to search the web or answer a question."

A group of Internet experts and veterans has started a project that promises to offer a unique search service that attempts to integrate and bring together state of the art technology with the original egalitarian and altruistic vision of the Web, where people had a mission in helping and supporting each other. While the project has yet to offer something online that we can all try, the basic idea proposed and the spirit that move the initiative seem to deserve some attention.

"The Wondir information service will help people find practical, focused answers to questions, with an emphasis on connecting people who have questions with other people who can provide needed help. These experts, tutors, mentors, enthusiasts, and peers could be volunteering on their own or as part of an organized online help program, such as an AskA service, government or social service, corporation, civic group, professional association, university, school or library. In addition to live resources, Wondir will make extensive use of FAQs, stored Q&As and other searchable web resources. Relevant human resources will be integrated into the results and featured in a targeted way."

Though Wondir has many things in common with other web search services, it's also dramatically different in many ways. Among its unique characteristics and positive traits I particularly value the following:

1) Wondir will provide a unique combination of live human answers, broad metasearch, and deep search of the invisible web.

2) Free access means easy, unfettered access to relevant information. No payments or negotiations required. Free and open access also means that Wondir results can be picked up and integrated by third parties, so that Wondir answers may appear anywhere people ask questions.

3) Open answer policy will enable answers from the largest universe of sources -- beyond what can be found via conventional web search -- including broad and specialized search services, and other question-answering services.

4) Wondir's target populations are those people with the biggest need, rather than those who are most commercially attractive.

5) Wondir will be both authoritative (because many answers will be identified as coming from recognized and credible professional organizations) and egalitarian (because of a truly open policy) at the same time.

6) The core of Wondir is people and organizations who are committed to helping others (e.g., service organizations, government agencies, libraries, universities, charities, advocates, mentors) and who have a mission to reach out to others with relevant information and assistance ---- in contrast to individuals who are trying to make money based on their ability to search the web or answer a question. There's nothing wrong with that; it's just quite different.

7) Identifying relevant information sources and answers, and merging and presenting results requires state-of-the-art search technology and great attention to user interaction. The Wondir team is committed to the creation of a truly effective, user-focused experience.

8) Wondir will operate in an open source environment, to encourage wide participation in its development, and to ensure that its technology and content are community resources.

9) Finally, Wondir may well end up being the only popular search service whose results remain totally free of commercial influence.

Target audience for Wondir are seniors, disadvantaged kids, new citizens, and people with disabilities, along with more mainstream users. According to Wondir initial content focus is toward provision of resources for questions about social and community services, health, and homework.

Unfortunately there is nothing yet for you to see about this new interesting service, but some of you may contribute to its development and testing by contacting the appropriate links provided here below.

Wondir has recently started alpha tests of the service, and is seeking help both from volunteer testers and from parties interested in supporting and sponsoring this project in various ways, including individuals and organizations who want to provide their expertise as a service.

Once it will be up and working you will be able to provide your advice for free or for a fee, by utilizing the PayPal online payment system or by receiving check by mail.

For what I have seen so far there is still a lot of work to do, and the interface design and functions really need a good overall upgrade. I sincerely hope that this ambitious project can take off successfully, and I have provided my volunteer expertise to them to testing out in this initial development stages.


Contact information for anyone wanting to help with the development of Wondir, participate as an expert, or donate funding to the foundation.

To find more information about Wondir: html/more_about.shtml html/wondir_different.shtml

Support Wondir html/support.shtml

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posted by Robin Good on Monday, October 7 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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