Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Twurdy - Search the Internet by Reading Level

Twurdy is a free search engine (powered by Google) that indicates the reading level of each page in a search result. Pages are given a reading level score, and results are color coded to make it easy for a user to recognize which results are likely to be most helpful.

Twurdy's rationale behind it's development is that...
Everyone has different reading abilities. Some people searching the web are university professors and others are 5 year old children. Twurdy has been created to provide people with access to search results that suit their own readability level.
 Twurdy's goal?
Twurdy's goal is to provide web searchers with information that is most appropriate for them. This will mean that 10 year olds doing school assignments don't have to click through difficult material to find something they can use. It will also mean that phd students do not have to click through websites designed for kids in order to find what they are looking for.
 How does Twurdy calculate the page readability level?
Twurdy uses custom designed readability software that includes information about the number of words on the page, the average number of syllables in each word, the average sentence length and more to determine a pages readability level.
What is the difference between the different search types?
  1. Just Twurdy - searches using Twurdy's basic algorithm with medium speed and medium results.
  2. Simple Twurdy - searches using Twurdy's simple algorithm for fast speed but less accurate results.
  3. Twurdy with Pop - searches using Twurdy's most complex algorithm which includes looking up the popularity of words within the text. It has a slower speed with more accurate results.
Here is an example of how Twurdy demonstrates a search for "St. Lucia Geography." (One of my favorite vacation spots!)

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