2009 February | Federated Search BlogFederated Search

Archive for February, 2009

27
Feb

[ Editor’s note: This article is a continuation of part II of the authors’ response to my review of the pre-print: One Box to Search Them All. This article is the second half of the response of the three authors of the “One Box” paper to the points I raised in my review.

The “One Box” pre-print is available to Emerald Insight subscribers in pre-print form and free to the public from Ian Gibson’s web-site.

Please note that the article is a pre-print version. This means that this is not a final version of the paper and that the authors may revise it. ]

What happened after the article

Starting in September 2008 we placed a big Single Search box on our homepage to search the three databases above. We placed Single Search boxes on all our Article Indexes by Subject pages and inside our ‘Explore a Topic’ subject guides. Typically, each box searched ?5 indexes. It didn’t take long for problems to emerge. First, there was a wave of connectors which were out of date, weren’t functioning properly or simply didn’t exist. These were dealt with as soon as they could be. For the most part we were accepting of these issues because connector maintenance is a well known issue with most federated search products. As students started to use the product more real issues started emerging.

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25
Feb

[ Editor’s note: This article is a continuation of part I of the authors’ response to my review of the pre-print: One Box to Search Them All. This article is the first half of the response of the three authors of the “One Box” paper to the points I raised in my review.

The “One Box” pre-print is available to Emerald Insight subscribers in pre-print form and free to the public from Ian Gibson’s web-site.

Please note that the article is a pre-print version. This means that this is not a final version of the paper and that the authors may revise it. ]

Response to Sol’s comments

The Memorial experience with Single Search is over (and frankly not a moment too soon). I will discuss your comments and then give some more general information about what happened after we wrote the article.

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23
Feb

Sometimes I write about things that are not quite related to federated search. This is one of those articles. While I am writing about the deep Web, this article is not about the aspect of the deep Web that the federated search community is focused on. But two of the important people in this article are ones I’ve written about before so there is some relevance here if you read on.

I received no fewer than three emails (and a flurry of Google alerts) about Alex Wright’s article in yesterday’s New York Times: Exploring a ‘Deep Web’ That Google Can’t Grasp. I like it when important publications write about the deep Web and help to spread awareness of it.

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20
Feb

I recently wrote a two-part review of “One Box to Search Them All: Implementing Federated Search at an Academic Library,” an Emerald Insight publication. Here are links to Part I and to Part II. Here is the introduction to my review:

Library Hi Tech’s first issue of 2009 includes a paper that touches on a number of issues related to the implementation of federated search in libraries. The paper is “One Box to Search Them All: Implementing Federated Search at an Academic Library.” The authors are Ian Gibson, Lisa Goddard, and Shannon Gordon. The authors are library professionals at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Gibson is a Science Research Liaison Librarian, Goddard is the Division Head for Systems, and Gordon is a Reference and Instruction Librarian. The article is available to Emerald Insight subscribers in pre-print form and free to the public from Ian Gibson’s web-site.

Please note that the article is a pre-print version. This means that this is not a final version of the paper and that the authors may revise it.

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19
Feb

As I’m sure you all know, I’m not a librarian and I don’t play one on TV. But, to stay current on federated search I try to keep a pulse on what’s happening in the library world. After reading one too many articles replaying the “librarians hate federated search but students like it” tape I was eager to read some very fresh thinking by a librarian who I’m just getting to know, Steven Bell. Inside Higher Ed just published one of Mr. Bell’s articles: The Library Web Site of the Future.

Some of you may recognize Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University, as the 2nd place winner in this blog’s Predict the future of federated search contest. I very much enjoyed his excellent contest entry and his recent Inside Higher Ed piece has helped me to think more clearly about the role and value of federated search web sites, although that’s not the aim of the article.

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17
Feb

This is becoming a theme: blog articles about rapid deployments of federated search. Last week it was Giv rolling his own solution in two to three weeks. Now the Technolust & Loathing blog has this for an introduction to a post:

First day on the job and I have been told that the library will forgo 360 Search due to budget constraints. The web development team and I need to come up with a new system to be put in place by March 1st…no pressure! …

The author has explored a number of commercial and open source offerings, plus Google Scholar. I’m interested to know what solution could be implemented in two weeks with a tiny budget. Is a free Open Source solution really free or is there a fair amount of commitment from librarian and IT staff to make this whole thing work?

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13
Feb

Sometimes I stray from writing about federated search to covering enterprise search. Enterprise search is a close cousin to federated search so I’m not straying too far. I find myself at times inspired by what people are thinking about and doing in the enterprise search world. Enterprise Search: Rethinking it in a Web 2.0 World is a FUMSI article by Jayne Dutra that is visionary in its view of where enterprise search is going.

Dutra understands that search is complex because the needs of the enterprise are complex as are the many ways that information can be gathered and assessed. Dutra writes:

Enterprise search is no longer a one-size-fits-all problem. Information retrieval is a complex area that is being increasingly seen as task dependent. In other words, how and why a user searches is directly related to what type of activity he is engaged in. Therefore search solutions must be designed around specific business problems that provide meaningful value to the enterprise.

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12
Feb

Yesterday morning I read a blog article that got my attention. Giv Paraneh wrote a post: It’s not always about the technology. Here’s the attention-getting part of the post. The emphasis, in bold, is mine:

I was initially hired to work on a federated search tool that would eventually be used by two online learning applications. The search had to query the collections databases of all 9 museums and return the results in a single aggregated list. Having worked on similar applications in the past I estimated no more than 2-3 weeks to complete this tool. How hard is it to pull in 9 collections and stick them in a database?

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9
Feb

[ This is a continuation (and the final piece) of the review I started here. ]

Rather than discuss the paper section by section I’ll highlight some of the key points of the paper.

  1. Memorial’s current implementation of SirsiDynix Single Search was purchased through a consortial agreement without broad in-house consultation.” I wonder how many implementations get purchased without buyin from the major stakeholders. This is not in any way a dig against SirsiDynix. Given the frequent tension between librarians and users, skipping the buyin phase is a recipe for trouble.

  2. Read the rest of this entry »

6
Feb

Library Hi Tech’s first issue of 2009 includes a paper that touches on a number of issues related to the implementation of federated search in libraries. The paper is “One Box to Search Them All: Implementing Federated Search at an Academic Library.” The authors are Ian Gibson, Lisa Goddard, and Shannon Gordon. The authors are library professionals at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Gibson is a Science Research Liaison Librarian, Goddard is the Division Head for Systems, and Gordon is a Reference and Instruction Librarian. The article is available to Emerald Insight subscribers in pre-print form and free to the public from Ian Gibson’s web-site.

Please note that the article is a pre-print version. This means that this is not a final version of the paper and that the authors may revise it.

In this article I give my impressions of the paper.

Here is the purpose of the paper, from its abstract:

In May, 2008, the Ad Hoc Committee on Federated Search was formed to prepare a preliminary report on federated searching for a special meeting of Librarians Academic Council at Memorial University Libraries. The primary purpose was to discuss current implementation of federated searching at this institution, explore what other institutions have done, examine federated search technologies, and offer recommendations for the future of this resource.

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