Anrvan's MESL searches

American University
the search at American University was most notable for the broad range of data fields each entry contained. This was very impressive and useful, and as will be shown later, is very different from the type of search and data record granularity offered at other sites. Incidentally, the medium sized thumbnail images seemed very slow to load.
Cornell University
Cornell University had the problem of having badly designed assumptions made in its search tools. When I searched for "India" under "Creator culture," I got this Native American piece back. Which is fine, I suppose, but the ranking should have placed my earch term "India" before "North American Indian," rather than the undirected and unfocused way this was done at the moment. The search capabilities here were extensive, and it retuned a lot of results, but without intelligent ranking, everything falls apart.
University of Virginia
I had a lot of problems with the University of Virginia MESL site.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This MESL implementation was also partially brokn, with some searches returning error screens like this. However, the ranking and returned results list were nice, rather like American University's. I appreciated the decently-sized thumbnails, and the short list of relevant information with the option of being able to go back and get more data later on. The UIUC MESL implementation was not at all like the Vrginia one, in that it had excellent indexing. The signal to noise ratio for the searches I ran were very high, dur to good quality indexing of terms. Again, the sme problem comes up--what happens when I'm willing to acept lower signal to noise in return for larger data sets? While in general, this isn't the case, a cross between the UIUC and Virginia modls ould be nice. I appreciate relevant data, but sometimes, being able to do "light" searches are also useful, if only to attempt to emulate the role of serendipity. The UIUC MESL searches also seemeda it slow. However, although it's in need of some work, this was probably my favorite site.
University of Maryland
Lots of signal to noise prolems here, likely caused by faulty or over-indexing. As with Cornell's MESL search, I got back images with Native American refereces when I did searches on "India," which shouldn't be happening (or at the very least, such images should be ranked far lower thean other, more pertinent items. Other search results were just plain absurd. What does this image have to do with the subject of "dog"? Are the indexers seeing something that I'm not? I'm utterly dumbfounded. Data was also consistently returned in GIF format, which can be a problem with large images--I once found myself downloading a 841K GIF image! Perhaps someone should show them the light of JPEG (or even PNG).