Abe pointed me to an article, “An info island or the kitchen sink: when you think about federated search engines, think about what you’ll include in the searches.” While the article is a bit dated (2007) it has this air of timelessness to it.
The author, Richard Todd, considers three paths to source selection:
In the course of implementing a federated search engine at my organization, I eventually recognized three fundamental approaches for determining which of the available sources to include in our system. I call these three guiding concepts the kitchen sink approach, the Easter Island approach, and the gatekeeper approach.
Without reading further can you guess what these three approaches are? Abe told me that he was contacted by someone who threw out these terms as if Abe should be familiar with them. He wasn’t. Neither was I.
The kitchen sink approach refers not to a federated search application that includes a zillion features but to one that includes a zillion sources. If your federated search engine includes every source your organization has ever heard of then you have a kitchen sink deployment.
Easter Island is most well known for the mysterious statues that dot its coastline. The island is so isolated that many people wonder who built the stone monoliths. An Easter Island federated search deployment is an extreme swing in the other direction from the kitchen sink deployment. Users are isolated from sources beyond their little island. Outside resources are beyond reach. Only your internal and licensed content is available in this small world.
The gatekeeper approach is in the middle. The gatekeeper decides which sources are relevant. There will likely be a mix of internal and external sources but not every source imaginable. This approach does involve getting clear on the criteria for selecting sources.
Which deployment strategy does your organization follow? Why?
Tags: federated search