What is boolean? Is “Boolean Black belt” a good thing? What is Beyond Boolean?

There has been a recent rise of the term “Boolean blackbelt”, while I am not familiar, specifically, with all the people stating to be a a boolean black belt, I wanted to add some perspective.

“Boolean Blackbelt”, may be a great marketing phrase, but it is the equivalent of saying “basic math blackbelt”  or “kindergarden green beret”

Why?  because Boolean is extremely simple.  It is the basis for logic which includes logical operators  AND, OR, NOT, and XOR  (exclusive OR).

I do know some people out there that would qualify as “search string black belts” and what they do is a combination of understanding boolean logic along with the myriad of Internet sources.   They have vast knowledge of the process of search.  The magic they bring is not the boolean, it is the business process and understanding.  What they do is tweak out the special commands allowed by the search engines, like Google, MS Live.  Shally Steckerl and Glenn Gutmacher from Job Machine are examples of masters they are “beyond boolean”.

So please, hold the angry emails, I am not knocking the “black belts” out there,  I think they are actually selling their skills short.  My goal is to add clarity that being good in boolean may take few minutes.  Being good at the complex search commands available in the search engines may take a few days to learn.  To know HOW to apply the search fundamentals means you must understand and live with all the sources of information that are available.  Search engines, blogs, social networks, etc.  To know all that requires total immersion.

What is beyond boolean?  Remember, boolean equates to: AND, OR, NOT, OR.  Some popular search engine commands include: NEAR,  Site,  inURL.

(By the way, I just checked the domain:  beyondBoolean.com is available!).  Who is going to be beyondboolean?

What is beyond boolean?  What is missing?  Here are some that we have developed at Broadlook.  We call it, what else, “broadlean”.  The next major versions of Broadlook product engines will be supporting it (some already do).  I would like to hear from the searchologists (i prefer that term), what else would you like to see in the broadlean specification?

WARNING!!!!! – The rest of this blog is for the tech geeks out there.  If you don’t know your way around a search engine, STOP HERE!

Here are some BROADLEAN commands:

SS:   Same sentance as
SP:   Same paragraph as
SC:  Same concept as

SS, SP, SC are operators.  PERSON, CORP, DATE, EVENT are what we call entity operators.

example usage:

Project manager”  SS PERSON –  find all pages that mention the term “project manager” in the same sentance as a person.  The  value here is that you don’t have to know the person’s name to succeed with your search.

Google, MS Live, Yahoo are all toys when it comes to weeding through results.  I am excited to see the technology that comes out over the next few years in terms of targeting results.  What fun!