What is Dwindal?
Dwindal is a fresh approach to keeping on top of new and updated information on websites. Most of us find information on the Internet in an ad hoc way via a search engine. If you want to check at a later date to see if something has changed on a website, you can create a long list of bookmarks/favorites, which are often lost or left unused. Many websites provide notification features, but you have to maintain them on a website by website basis.
Dwindal scans websites you choose for keywords/terms (also known as phrases) of your choice. Once you connect your group of keywords/terms to your collection of websites, Dwindal does the work of scanning and then reports the web pages that match.
Dwindal does deep searches of your websites based on your keywords, without Google, Bing or Yahoo's ranking, weighting and/or other hidden filters. (Please see the presentation on Filter Bubbles.) Dwindal also provides the features of e-mail alerts and result history. If you are stuck for websites to scan, the Site Suggester feature comes to the rescue.
If it helps you think of Dwindal as a 3-in-1 system. Dwindal crawls web pages on a site and creates a keyword index in a similar manner to search engines (but only on sites you select). Dwindal then includes the equivalent of an RSS News Reader and an Email Alert System.
System 1: A search engine
If we consider Google's search engine, it presents you with filtered results based on:
- your past searches,
- popularity of web sites,
- your geographic location and
- somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50-60 additional criteria.
Dwindal crawls and indexes websites. However, we only crawl and index those websites specified by users. Google, Bing and Yahoo try to crawl and index the entire Internet. As a result Dwindal doesn't need to filter and focus the results because Dwindal users dictate their keywords/terms, connecting them to websites of their own choosing. The filtering occurs the instant the users make their choices.
System 2: Email Alerts
As an example, Google has its Google Alert system that scans Google's vast index and tries to search for websites and pages that match your criteria. Alerts are then sent to you. However there's limited control over which websites Google chooses for you. In cases where you want to get alerts from specific sites, you have to sign up for alerts on every single site.
Dwindal does the alerts for you and is integrated with the rest of the system. No further steps need to be taken. If there's something new on the websites the users have specified, Dwindal tells them.
System 3: News Readers
There are many News Readers which are designed to grab news feeds (RSS feeds) from a variety of news sources. You are required to subscribe and truly understand RSS feeds to use these systems.
Dwindal completely integrates the RSS feeds into its index. When crawling a site, Dwindal grabs the RSS feeds and automatically downloads new information nightly. Web pages found in this manner appear in Dwindal's results the same way as any other web page. Users don't have to sign up for anything further, they simply have to know which news sites they want to monitor.
None of these systems retains history for you. Dwindal is unique because it tightly integrates search, news readers, email alerts and result history in one system.