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The Anti-Thesaurus

Independent Commentary on the Proposal


Date: January 1, 2002
The original paper, November 19, 2001

To our surprise the two papers resulted in hundreds of emails endorsing the proposal, from search professionals, information scientists, research librarians, webmasters, and developers. Some of the published ones are quoted below.

The ICANN Times
    "Great Idea: the Search Engine Anti-Thesaurus Solution is easy and elegant: a metadata tag that specifically excludes selected terms from search engine hits by the simple expedient of defining the terms as non-words. Discussion is brief but thorough, and well worth reading."

Search Engine Watch
    "Carroll’s proposal is an interesting read ... it’s certainly an idea worthy of considering by standards committees and search engines alike."

by Chris Sherman (co-author of The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can’t See)

Reva Basch, author of Researching Online For Dummies; Executive Editor, Super Searchers book series.
    "Like the Boolean NOT they emulate, the anti-thesaurus’ "exwords" aren’t the solution for every site and every search, but an elegant and considerate tweak that overburdened webmasters could implement fairly easily. The anti-thesaurus won’t revolutionize the web, but it might help make it a more rational environment for webmasters and searchers alike."

Netsurfer Digest
    "Nicholas Carroll has researched a concept that strikes near and dear to our hearts: the anti-thesaurus. Carroll isn’t happy with netsurfers who are unnecessarily drawn to his sites in the pursuit of non-existent content; it clogs his bandwidth and serves no purpose for the surfers, either.

"Widespread implementation of his suggestion has the potential to improve the lives of surfers and webmasters alike."

Usability News
    "Nicholas Carroll has written two elegant papers on the value of introducing a metatag to exclude searches on words that crop up in the text of the website but are of minor significance ... the two papers make a good read if you are interested in information retrieval. It’s a pithy argument and it sounds plausible."

The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter
    "An elegant proposal."

Library and Information Science News
    "If you liked the first one, The Anti-Thesaurus Part 2 will be just as interesting."

December 19, 2001 — an expansion of the original paper,
The Anti-Thesaurus, Part 2: Expansion of Proposal for Increasing Search Relevance

Please send comments to Nicholas Carroll
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