I had somehow missed Jill Hurst-Wahl’s excellent article in this year’s Enterprise Search Sourcebook: An Info Pro’s Federated Search Pros and Cons. It was a brief post at Jill’s blog that brought the article to my attention.
The article, at only two pages, is a quick read but it gets to the heart of the question of whether your organization should consider federated search. Jill is clearly pro-federated search and her bias come across especially clearly in the article’s final paragraph:
What are your users doing? What should they be doing? If they are searching narrowly when they should be searching broadly, then you should consider using federated search. If they are missing information because they lack the patience to search multiple databases, then you should consider using federated search. And if your organization has the funding and personnel to implement federated search, then you should consider implementing a federated search solution.
Jill does, however, ask readers to consider if federated search is right for their organizations. She recommends a needs assessment if federated search seems to likely be a good fit. And, she encourages organizations to not pursue federated search if they don’t have funding or personnel resources to give time and attention to planning and implementation, if they don’t use numerous content sources, or if their users are not complaining about the time it takes to search multiple content sources.
For organizations that do want to pursue federated search I highly recommend Jill’s Federated Search Report and Tool Kit. It is exceptionally well written and it is rich in process that will help organizations to pursue federated search in a clear and focused step-by-step manner.
Tags: federated search