TAGSEO is a collaborative, group project to develop, manage and improve advanced search capabilities, search functionality and search engine optimization within WordPress. To put it simply, it is an open source search engine based on WP data structures.

Search is complex. Human beings are complex. Groups of people are even more complex. Many groups of people, communites that overlap, and so on can become extremely complex. One relatively straightforward way to simplify the complexity of the TAGSEO project is to realize how humans naturally search for information. Human search technologies have evolved over many millennia, the most obvious such human information technology is often referred to as “natural language”. Many such natural languages exist, and today English is perhaps the most widely recognized natural language of all. When people store or retrieve information, they usually use a natural language such as English. It can be very misleading though, to think of natural languages as completely homogeneous technologies. In contrast, they actually vary and adapt themselves to local circumstances, and so therefore natural language is a very decentralized and hardly ever a uniform technology.

Yet human information storage and retrieval technologies are by no means as simple as a basic (read: overly simplistic) full-text search algorithm. Human language data stuctures are highly nested, much like a book-length romance novel might be divided into chapters, sections, different points of view and so on. When approaching an information storage or an information retrieval task, humans will usually “zoom out” and start at a very general level — for example: is this person a friend or a business partner (or perhaps both or neither)? Are we planning an event or are we chatting about how our days went? Do we need to solve some sort of deep philosophical problem or issue right now?

Such general frames of reference are common building blocks we tend to use as we construct story structures, elaborate on them, embellish them (and so on). Even if there are many technological alternatives available, we should not ignore the fact that natural languages have evolved over a very long time to be particularly well suited to human information storage and retrieval (aka “search”).

Developing, managing and improving search technologies is a very complex project. Let’s talk about how we can best collaborate on this, so that we can move towards taking the first steps and begin actually doing it!