Opening up the rich history and heritage of the Thai Parliament Library with Google Search Appliance
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Adisak Sukul, Ph.D., from the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, KMITL. Dr. Sukul served as a consultant on the working group to develop Thailand’s largest Digital Library of legislative documents. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
The Parliament of Thailand houses over 350,000 pieces of journals, newspapers, e-books and videos, some dating back from as early as 1932 ‒ the year Thailand’s Constitution began. Over the years, the amount of information we accumulated grew substantially and we sought a powerful system that would help us manage the repository effectively. This culminated in the development of Thailand’s largest Digital Library, where the repository of legislative documents was made available for public referencing over the Web.
The Digital Library collated various document collections from different research libraries into a single searchable archive. We also developed a search engine to help users locate information but we found that the engine was not generating accurate search results due to the complexity of the Thai language. The problem was further compounded by the multitude of complex official documents with several different metadata structures. Users had to run 10 different search queries in order to retrieve the complete information they were looking for. It became evident that a more efficient and user-friendly solution was needed if we wanted members of the public to gain value from the National Assembly’s collection.
Google Search Appliance (GSA) met our requirements perfectly. It integrates easily with our back-end database solution and the information from multiple platforms is now consolidated and condensed into one single repository. It is simple to use and delivers complete and accurate search results to users. Now, users can conduct searches 10 times faster than they used to.
The GSA is also equipped with a built-in dictionary that intelligently recognizes the Thai language. The GSA’s auto complete and spell checker are incredibly useful for us. The Thai language is complex, and it is not uncommon for words to be misspelled. We knew that working with the Thai language on a search engine can be highly challenging, but Google’s dedicated team worked hard to ensure that this was not a barrier to the success of our project.
Once the system went live to the public, Google’s easy-to-use interface attracted many new users to the Digital Library. This was a plus point for us as we have been receiving increasing requests for access to non-sensitive legislative-related information. I am pleased that we are now able to share this repository of knowledge with lawyers, students and non-governmental organizations. To date, the Library has logged a 200 percent increase in user traffic.
We also noticed that searches conducted using Google.com or other search engines will point to documents in the Digital Library. This means that we are now reaching out to more people. It is gratifying to know that we are finally able to share and put to good use the rich history and heritage we have stored over the years.
Throughout the project, Google’s Enterprise team and Google’s Developer Group were supportive and professional. In fact, it was this open working relationship that helped ensure the project’s success. Thanks to Google, we now empower our searchers with a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.