ChaCha Partner to Create Academic Search Service

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<p><strong>Indiannapolis &mdash; Aug. 3</strong><br />Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie and Scott A. Jones, co-founder and chief executive officer of ChaCha, an Indiana company that is creating a more focused way of providing Internet searches, have entered into a strategic alliance for research, development and services for the next generation of Internet search tools and practices.<br /><br />This new partnership will incorporate the collective knowledge and experience of the university&#39;s library and information technology staff into ChaCha&#39;s new search engine architecture, which combines a sophisticated machine-based search with skilled human guides who can quickly bring focus and precision to the search product.<br /><br />&quot;Great universities of the 21st century will master and integrate digital information as an essential part of research and learning,&quot; McRobbie said. &quot;Our alliance with ChaCha creates a strong and capable partnership to research these digital frontiers and to develop leading tools for the IU community.&quot;<br /><br />The alliance is one of several partnerships McRobbie intends to make with Indiana-based businesses to promote economic and technological growth in the state.<br /><br />It will enable IU and ChaCha to develop a better understanding of how guided search can best serve the complex needs of students, faculty and academic researchers. </p><p>The name ChaCha comes from &quot;cha,&quot; the Chinese word for search.<br /><br />By combining machine-based searches with input from human guides, ChaCha is able to offer users the ability to receive instant results, as with a traditional search engine, but the guides help the user focus on relevant information and eliminate unwanted material.<br /><br />The strategic alliance between IU and ChaCha maximizes the enormous potential of guided search by linking IU&#39;s intellectual power to ChaCha&#39;s practical platform.<br /><br />IU librarians, information technology staff and others will serve as guides, available to help the IU community conduct searches through a live instant message chat interface, identify exactly what information the user is seeking, refine the search for the user and then display only the most relevant results.<br /><br />&quot;The current practice of machine-based search is an essential tool, but alone, it is insufficient for domains of specialized expertise and the needs of scholars,&quot; said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology. &quot;With this strategic alliance, we establish pioneering paths to bring human insight and expertise to the moment of need. We see a generalized platform for expertise projection to the IU community rather than building unique tools for each academic discipline or service. This is a research, development and production service alliance.&quot;<br /><br />To launch the alliance, IU and ChaCha are collaborating on several projects for implementation as early as fall semester.<br /><br />Under way immediately is the addition of ChaCha as the power behind IU&#39;s search portal, </p><p>When IU students and faculty use the service, IU guides will be vetting and voting upon the instant search results, constantly improving them. Guides also will be available for information seekers&#39; interaction via live chat.<br /><br />&quot;Co-founder Brad Bostic and I are pleased to work with our alma mater to improve online search for the IU community,&quot; Jones said. &quot;The domain-specific knowledge and advanced searching skills they have to offer searchers made this partnership an ideal match.&quot;</p>

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