Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Steel Search

I, along with many others I am sure, have found that searching for steel related information on the web can be very frustrating. This is particularly the case when attempting to find details of specifications, or technical processes. One common problem is that specifications particularly comprise invariably of a sequence of "apparently" random letters and numbers. Whilst they are not entirely random, they often coincide with catalog numbers for a wide range of non-steel related products. Searching for CS1 for instance will bring up far more links to Dyson vacuum cleaners than details of a cold rolled deep drawing grade of steel strip. One way to refine results is by adding "+ steel" after the search term, whilst not a perfect solution it will help get more relevant results.

For some time now I have been experimenting with a "Swicki", which can be found on this page. Whilst the Swicki can get highly relevant search results, it relies on a lot of intervention by me to refine it's results. This can be slow and time consuming, so it often goes for weeks without updating.

I have recently started to experiment with the Google Co-op customized search engine. This is, like the Swicki an experiment in community built search engines. It relies on the community to refine it's search base, and like Wikipedia has the potential to greatly enhance the availability of information.

I would invite anyone who uses the Internet to research steel related matters to become involved, by becoming a contributor. If you would be willing to help, please email me at with the subject heading Google.

The Steel co-operative search in it's early stage can be found at the following link:

Google Steel Search Engine




Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve. I've been watching your blog for a few months. I really appreciate your work.

In case you find it interesting I recommend viewing the Steel indutry photo pool on Flickr.

Tell me what you think about it.

Unknown said...


Thank you for the comment and your link. Unfortunately, I have just lost an hour of time browsing the photographs!

I am going to post about the flickr group and see if anyone else out there has any photo's they would like to contribute.

It's made me a little nostalgic about my time in the steelmaking plant.