The Name Search Engine

Nameling is the name search engine which assists you in finding a suitable given name. In order to reveal new interrelations between names, data mining and knowledge engineering techniques are applied to data from the social web and combined with the dynamics of actual name preferences of users in Nameling (see Figure 1).
In the followwing, we shortly introduce you to Nameling and summarize each feature.

  1. Background
  2. Searching
  3. Details
  4. Favourites
  5. Recommending Given Names
  6. Connect with Nameling
  7. Geolocations
  8. Research
  9. Privacy

Background

Whoever had to chose a given name, knows how challenging it is to find a suitable name which fits to the personal preference as well as the social environment. There is a huge bibliography on books, listing given names in alphabetical order, as well as dozens of respective websites. But finding a suitable name in such a list is an exhausting task. Out of several thousand names, only a small fraction of names is typically relevant to the reader.


Figure 1: Different data sources are used in Nameling for discovering new relations among names.


Features

The name search engine Nameling assists you in finding suitable names, by discovering new name interrelations based on data from the social web.
Searching: Basically, you can use Nameling for finding names which are similar to those you like. If, e.g., you like the name "Bruce" but this name is currently too popular within your neighbourhood, you can lookup namelings for "Bruce" and browse for other names you like. How exactly the similarity and relatedness of names is calculated is subject to current research and summarized in the Nameling's technical documentation. For browsing through Nameling's database of given names, you can simply enter a name in the input field on Nameling's welcome page. While you type in a name, Nameling automatically provides possible completions of you input (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Name input field with auto completion in Nameling


By clicking on the 'explore!' button or by hitting the enter key, similar names to the queried name are displayed (e.g. Bruce).

Figure 3: List of the first four namelings for the given name "Bruce". Within this list, a user may add a name to the list of favourite names Icon for the favorite for adding a favourite name, show Details for a given name Icon for the details link, lookup a corresponding article in Wikipedia Icon for the details feature or display all names belonging to a certain category (e.g. Breton loanwords).


Details: Nameling allows you to retrieve examine additional statistical backround information about the current query name. These information can be viewed by clicking on the blue 'information sign' which is shown on top of each list of nameling (which is included on Figure 3). There, you can see how popular the name is within the different considered data sources and get an impression of the historical distribution of this name (exemplarily shown in Figure 4 for the given name 'Bruce').

Figure 4: Popularity of the given name 'Bruce' within the considered data sources.


Favourites: For keeping track of all interesting names you came across while browsing through namelings, you can administer a personal list of favourite names. For this, you can click on the butterfly symbol Icon of the favourite feature (which is also shown in Figure 3).

Your list of favourite names is displayed within the right sidebar (on the bottom of the page on mobile devices) on every page in Nameling, as exemplarily shown in Figure 5. The list of favorite names can be expanded and collapsed by clicking on its title. Within the list, each name is linked to the corresponding list of namelings and by clicking on the '[x]'-symbol, names can be removed from the list again.
A list of favourite names

Figure 5: A list of favourite names.


Following the link "Share with friends" on the bottom of the list of favourite names (see Figure 5), you can invite a friend via email to jointly search for favourite names. Your friend will receive an email with a link, which allows him to mutually view each other's favorite names. This allows, e.g., both parents to separately search for names, while being aware of the others findings.
Personalized name recommendations: You probably know recommender systems from online shops: "Customers who liked this product, also showed interest in...". Within Nameling, new approaches for name recommendation systems are developed and applied ("People who like 'Peter' also like the name 'Paul'"). In the context of the research competition 20DC13, scientists from all over the world are invited to integrate their recommender system in Nameling.

Figure 6 shows a list of recommended names which are based on the search profile of a user in Nameling. Within this list, names can directly be added to the list of favourite names or hidded from future recommendations if a name doesn't fit the user's taste.

The navigation arrows at the bottom of the list allow to browse through the list of recommended names while the recycling button allows to request other name recommendations.
A personalized list of recommended names

Figure 6: A personalized list of recommended names.


But you can also explicitly ask Nameling for name recommendations, relative to a list of names you like (e.g., the future parents' given names), as exemplified in Figure 7. By clicking on the '+' and '-' signs, you can add a name to your name recommendation query or, respectively, permanently ban a name from your result views. Of course, you can still add each name to your personal list of favourite names and explore a names neighbourhood.
A personalized list of recommended names

Figure 7: Personalized list of recommended names, suitable for the names 'Kate' and 'William'.


Connect with Nameling: You do not have to sign in for using Nameling. For making your list of favorite names accessible for longer periods, Nameling uses so called Cookies. A cookie is a small piece of data which is stored within your browser. Nameling uses a cookie for storing a randomly generated id which is used to match your browser to your list of favorite names. Third parties do not have access either to your id nor to your list of favorite names (encryption ensures that a cookie was issued by Nameling).

This cookie is valid for one year. For long term access to your favourite names (e.g., if a name for further kids are needed), you can connect your Facebook account with Nameling. Within this login process, Facebook will ask you to grant Nameling access to your friends data. Nameling will only consider with respect to your friends given names. These data is used to learn more about the actual social context of a name by considering social links among bearers of a name.
Geolocations: Nameling offers you the feature of automatically detecting your current location in order to consider your geographic context for the generation of name recommendations. For this, you only have to click on the satellite dish, left to each name input field in Nameling (see Figure 3) and grant Nameling access to your browsers geo data. Wir recommend to permanently grant Nameling access to your position data, as otherwise, the browser will have to repeatedly ask for your acceptance on every page. You can always deactivate the submission of location data by hitting again the satellite dish.

By considering your current location, Nameling is able to learn location dependent name relations, but also generate recommendations which fit to your geographic context (e.g., the name "Jaques" is more likely in France, while "Jakob" is more common in Germany).
Research: Nameling also serves as a testbed and research platform for developing and testing new methods in the field of digital onomastics, as, e.g. new measures of name similarity or personalized name recommendation systems. For more information about current research activities in the context of Nameling, please visit Nameling's research page.
Privacy: As scientist working in the field of data mining and knowledge discovery, we are aware of the significance of privacy and trustworthy handling of data. As a basic principle, data in Nameling is processed anonymously. But nevertheless, by combining several data sources, inducing personal data might be possible in the worst case. We therefore steadily maintaining our servers and network infrastructure, which is regularily updated with the latest security fixes. Our infrasturcure is continuesly monitored by our administrators and daily backup cycles ensure the persistance of your favorite name lists.
You can inspect which data Nameling knows about you by visiting your myData page which is linked on the bottom of each page. There you may also access Nameling's terms of use and privacy statement.
Whenever in the context of a research cooperation we jointly work on improving name recommendations with other researchers, we always apply additional pseudonymization of the data and fix the handling of data with a special Non-Disclosure-Agreement.