Why did ICPSR choose faceted searching over Boolean searching?
Though Boolean searching is very powerful, it simply does not have the traction of Google searching. Our typical user is a grad student or undergrad who only visits our site once a semester, so we cannot afford to build a search that has much of a learning curve. We need a search that behaves like the searches to which our users are accustomed, and the current crop of grads/undergrads have been using Google since grade school.
We recognize that this can be very frustrating for experienced searchers. From a support perspective, however, it makes more sense to build a simple search for search novices, instead of a sophisticated search for experienced searchers. If the search were more complex, it would generate more support queries for both ICPSR staff and for the Official Representatives.