Feature

Langley Google Offers Another Tool to Center's Researchers
02.13.09
By: Jim Hodges

Yes, Google is the researcher's friend, maybe the best friend, but the search engine can beat you up with citations about your subject. Do you really want to pore over multimillions of documents that mention Apollo and NASA to find a specific bit of information about Neil Armstrong?

Enter a new way to search. Call it son of Google, or in this case, Langley Google, or google.larc.nasa.gov. The engine does a lot of information winnowing for you.

"We talked about this a long time," said Greta Lowe of the Information Management Branch, which teamed with Google to come up with this engine for Langley engineers, scientists and other professionals. "We knew people were frustrated with multiple search engines and wanted an easier search experience."

Greta Lowe.

Greta Lowe, of the Information Management Branch, takes time to explain the new Langley Google search engine during a demonstration in the center cafeteria. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Click on image for a larger size

The Langley Google search is actually "Google-plus." It searches internal Web sites, data bases, journal subscriptions, in addition to the information provided by Google. Many of the documents available on the site that aren't in the public domain. It's an "inside-the-fence" search engine that can find, not only new magazine material, but also old pictures and documents from the Langley Digital Repository, NASA Langley Web sites, the center phone book, NASA Galaxie and the National Aeronautics and Space Database, plus university Web sites, government labs patents, standards and journal subscriptions from AIAA.

Langley Google breaks down that information to "internal" and "external" sources.

"We're trying to make it a one-stop search, as much as we can," Lowe said.

A nine-person team has worked for more than a year on Langley Google, which came on-line for beta testing in July and was rolled out Wednesday with demonstrations in the center's cafeteria.

"Some of it you can find just in regular Google," said Lowe, "but some of it you would have to pay for. We have spent money on subscriptions that allow you to read entire articles."

Langley Google helps harness information from many sources and data bases.

Langley Google can be used away from the center by employees with Virtual Private Network (VPN) access.

Like Google, Langley Google is ever-evolving, in part because that's the nature of information, but also because the Information Management Branch is seeking input as to what resources the center wants for the site. There is a feedback button on the site for the input.

"We want people to use it," said Lowe. "When they've used it, then we'll know more about what their needs are."


 
NASA Langley Research Center
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor and Responsible NASA Official: H. Keith Henry
Editor and Curator: Denise Lineberry