I wanted something memorable, with just a few letters, and that was available as a domain-name on the .org top-level domain.
JOUR sounded too French.
JURN is a common German / Scandanavian boys’ name, no-one else was using it for anything remotely like a search-engine or even a trademark, and I had some new artwork to hand featuring a boy to be the “brand mascot”.
I pictured “Jurn” as some student stuck in the wilds of somewhere like Finland, without paid access to many commercial ejournals. He’d be trying to plough through Google Scholar in English, and getting tangled up in results that constantly demanded payment. JURN is the search engine for that student, and for millions like him around the world who have limited or no access to full-text journal databases.
So… that’s why the new search-engine was named JURN. But as an acronym, what might it stand for? Well, you can pick your own meaning, in the style of the old sci-fi zines — Journal Usury Recovery Net? Jolly Urbane Reading Node?