a linked network graph with the idea of [[wikilinks everywhere]] at its center

[[wikilinks]] and #hashtags as a portal to cross site search

[[wikilinks]] and could act as snippets for custom searches on various platforms. I’d like to be able to either click on a link or possibly right click and be presented with the ability to search that term (or nearby terms) on a variety of different platforms or trusted websites. This could be a useful form of personal search that allows me to find things within a much smaller space of knowledge I’m aware of. Sometimes the serendipity from the wisdom of the crowd via major search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, or Bing may suffice, but shouldn’t I be able to more easily search a trusted personal group of hand curated sources?

Platforms like Wikipedia and Twitter already have these patterns as links to resources within themselves, but why couldn’t/shouldn’t a browser or browser plugin allow me an option when clicking on them to go to other resources outside of the expected (narrow) search provided? Perhaps I’m in my own wiki and a redlink [[wikilink]] obviously doesn’t exist on my site. Why shouldn’t I be able to click on it to go to another source like Wikipedia to find it?

These search resources can still be larger platforms like Google, Wikipedia, and Twitter, but could be subspecialized to include Twitter users I follow, smaller wikis I use (including my own), websites of people I follow in my feed reader or social reader (by searching on categories/tags or even broad text search). I should be able to easily define a multitude of resources for each custom search using common standards. This affordability could give me a much more refined and trusted set of search results, particularly in a post-fact society.

One could go further still and highlight a word or words on one’s browser screen and use these as a custom search query.

If built properly, I ought to be able to create “playlists” of sites and resources to search for myself and be able to share these with other friends, family, and colleagues who may trust those sources as well.

I’m curious what others think of this idea. What should the UI look like to make it clear and easy to use? What other things might one want to search on beyond plain text, hashtags, and wikilinks? Am I missing anything? What downsides or social ills might this pattern potentially entail?

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

11 thoughts on “[[wikilinks]] and #hashtags as a portal to cross site search”

  1.  I like this idea a lot and I am still sorting the implications which could be revolutionary if this can be done.  This could be huge. 

    Random thoughts from the top of my head: 

    This could be a big boost for non- Big Tech search engines, niche search engines like Marginalia Search, Indieweb Search, and various web directories. Plus, as mentioned, wikis like Indieweb.org

    I always have the notion that we are underutilizing both web search and site search on the web.It strikes me that having this as a browser extension is on the right track although it might be easier to make this platform specific like plugins for WordPress.“downsides and social ills” 

    Right now I can’t think of any but they will exist because this is the Internet and anything that can be exploited will be exploited.Searching one specified off-site source with a wikilink may not be too hard but trying to do a meta search of several sources could be very difficult unless each source searched opens in a new tab.The UI will be tricky. If you want wide spread adoption then it needs to be simple. 

    Even DDG’s !bangs are a bit too complicated for mass use. 

    Anyway it sounds like something to be discussed, thought about and experimented with.

    1. I know about this and a few others that have a kernel of the idea, but I’m looking for bigger whole scale UI shifts to make these sorts of search easier. Though maybe some like @DMRussell might warn against the complexities of this?

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