"What we achieved with the Google Search Appliance was content discoverability on our website.”
- Chris Hansford, Chief Information Officer, Editorial Projects in Education
Editorial Projects in Education Engages Website Visitors with the Google Search Appliance
Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) is a non-profit B2B publishing organization focused on education news and policy. EPE is the publisher of Education Week and other high-quality print and online products covering K-12 education, with a mission to raise awareness and understanding of critical issues facing American schools.
EPE was previously leveraging an enterprise search software integrated with its website for users to find desired topics or publications. However, the solution lacked the capabilities that EPE required to satisfy the needs of both initial website visitors browsing for current content as well as those of researchers and policymakers searching for historical content.
EPE’s previous solution was built on outdated technology that was hard to manage and didn’t provide a comprehensive, streamlined end-user experience. Archived and current content were not appropriately ranked, resulting in inconsistency of search results. It also lacked the ability to scale in proportion to EPE’s growing content reserve; its previous license was capped at 100,000 documents, which wasn’t enough to index the 30-plus years of publications and articles that EPE featured on its website.
Editorial Projects in Education connected with SADA Systems, a Google Cloud Premier Partner recommended by Google to help EPE explore the benefits of the Google Search Appliance (GSA) in order to resolve its business challenges. The primary goal was for the GSA to serve as an external search engine for EPE’s public website.
“We have been publishing for over 30 years, and a lot of our readers rely on us as a record of authority,” said Chris Hansford, Chief Information Officer at Editorial Projects in Education. “We needed a solution that would make it easy for our website visitors to not only read current stories but also to research past content and dig through archives to find what they’re looking for.”
One of the primary benefits of the GSA is that it would be easy for website visitors to use because the majority of users were already familiar with the standard Google search interface – it had the same look and feel as Google.com. Hansford explained, “The big factor here is familiarity with the Google search experience. The shortcuts and syntax that people have learned from Google.com will transfer to our search engine.”
Google’s deep expertise and large install base contributed to a powerful, proven search solution built to solve EPE’s business challenges. SADA Systems worked with EPE to leverage valuable aspects of the GSA feature map, including:
- Dynamic Navigation: The ability to narrow down search results by use specific metadata attributes
- Customization: A wide range of advanced search features beyond the “out of the box” capabilities, such as authentication and access control
- File Types: The ability to search for other types of files, such as PDFs and multimedia content
Results and Benefits
“What we achieved with the Google Search Appliance was content discoverability on our website,” said Hansford, “keeping users engaged by providing the ability to easily sift through decades of published content.” The Google Search Appliance, integrated into EPE’s website, provided improved search for current and archived content in order to increase discoverability and overall website engagement. Hansford explains, “With the GSA, we could satisfy the needs of website visitors browsing for current stories as well as those of researchers, policymakers and policy advocates exploring the full body of content.”
Paul Hyland, Chief Technology Officer of Digital Operations at EPE, explains the benefits provided by the GSA’s dynamic navigation feature: “Website visitors can narrow results down to a specific author or year, or filter by the publication, volume, and issue according to our publishing calendar.”
EPE has several plans to expand the GSA within their environment. According to Hyland, “We are planning to introduce additional types of products that could involve integrating search with authentication and access control, which is possible with the GSA. We even have the ability to build a more sophisticated version of search for internal use.” EPE is also expanding the GSA to integrate its mobile platform and enhance UI with responsive design and dropdown menus based on search parameters.
The Google Search Appliance will also provide sophisticated analytics over time, which will allow EPE’s IT team to recognize engagement patterns, habits, and long term user trends. From there, EPE will be able to essentially predict which results the user is looking for, and fine tune biasing in order to increase or decrease the ranking of certain content.