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What's the best way to deal with multi word tag searches?

11:28 am on Aug 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:July 29, 2008
votes: 0

In my directory, I want service providers to be able to apply tags to their listings so that users can search using tags to find them.

However, I am having a problem working out the best way to deal with multi-word tags

I can let service providers define multi-word tags for their listings by either comma separating them eg "team builder, london"

or putting each tag in its own text box: eg
team builder

no problem so far, but what is the best way to deal with these from a user search perspective?

I want a user to be able to search for "team builder london" and get results for team builders in london.

However, if they search for "builder london" I want them to get results forbuilders in london, not team builders in london.

How can the system know that "team builder" is one tag not 2 in this scenario, particularly if "team" and "builder" also appear in the system as individual tags. Is it necessary for users to define multi word tags when searching? ie search for say "team-builder london" or "team builder, London". This would solve my problem but I think it is counter intuitive for users.

I could also make users search for tags 1 at a time (like delicious) so that they would search for "team builder" and then "London" but again this is not ideal imo as it is a slower process

Can anyone give me some advice on the best way to approach this?


4:49 am on Aug 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 20, 2003
votes: 0

I can imagine two ways:

1) Have same "Did you mean" popup Like G. with possible multiterm keywords and have the user decide what he wants

2) Don't allow partial matches on multiterm keywords, if you want to avoid your example. For multiterm keywords check that the users has given all subterms. Easiest way would be to not check user input vs. stored keywords, but stored keywords vs user input one by one. For high amounts of keywords, this takes a lot more calculation time, though...


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