Friday, June 3, 2011


Zanran is to data, what Google is to text.

Now in its Beta-testing phase, the new search engine, Zanran, seems certain to appeal to all of us who use data on a regular basis. Founders Jon Goldhill and Yves Dassas describe Zanran in the following way:
"Zanran helps you to find ‘semi-structured’ data on the web. This is the numerical data that people have presented as graphs and tables and charts. For example, the data could be a graph in a PDF report, or a table in an Excel spreadsheet, or a barchart shown as an image in an HTML page. This huge amount of information can be difficult to find using conventional search engines, which are focused primarily on finding text rather than graphs, tables and bar charts."

On 31 May I used Zanran to search "zero inflated Poisson" (see above), and returned 4,394 results, each linking to data in graphs and/or tables. Here are the first 5 items in the list:

When you "hover over" the pdf icons for each of the first three items above, here are the previews that you see:

Then, of course, if you like what you see, you just click your way to the linked document, be it a pdf file, an Excel worksheet, an HTML page, or whatever.

No, I'm not an investor, but this is one cool search engine. Try it - you'll love it!

(HT to Andrew Gelman.)

© 2011, David E. Giles

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