Sub-second search on CanLII
Abstract. Search engines are at the heart of a Legal Information Institute. They are the principal mean by which its users access the information it offers. It is therefore of critical importance that this tool be as efficient as possible. A key component of this “efficiency” metric comes from the time it takes for the search engine to compute a query and return results to the user. This article looks at several ways in which search engine performance can be improved. It investigates the components of server performance that drive search engine performance as well as some information that can be precomputed by modern search engine to minimize the cost of complexity associated with large collections of data.
In 2008, several hundred members of various law societies in Canada were surveyed about CanLII. In addition to questions about how they perceived the free service, a number of questions about what they felt could be improved were asked. The answers were not surprising. One, CanLII needs even more content: more courts, more tribunals and older material. Often, respondents were kind enough to be specific about which courts or tribunals to target. Two, it would be nice if it were easier to search. How to get there however, few respondents could say.
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