I’m aware of how difficult it is for prospective customers to compare federated search offerings because a number of vendors don’t have publicly available demo applications. Even where the demos do exist, it’s hard to compare them because they’re not searching the same sources. I am making the effort to change that. I am inviting all federated search vendors, providers of Open Source federated search, and enterprise search vendors who have federated search to provide me with contact information and develop a demo application that is open to the public. I will create and host a vendor resource page with vendor information, logos, text boxes, and search buttons. The idea is that people can go to this web page, get information about a particular vendor, submit searches (one at a time) to the different demo applications and compare results, features, and look-and-feel characteristics of the different vendor offerings.

Here is what I’m proposing:

  1. I will create a vendor resource page to include offerings from any provider of federated search, commercial or not.
  2. I will include vendor name, product name, URL to federated search offerings, and contact information in the vendor resource page.
  3. We as a community of vendors, customers, and potential customers select 10 high quality and reliable sources of general interest to libraries. These sources should be public sources, not requiring subscription access or authentication.
  4. Each vendor builds a publicly available demo application using the 10 selected sources.
  5. Each vendor provides me with a logo plus the javascript and/or form parameter information to code a search box for a basic search.
  6. I wire up search boxes for everyone who participates.
  7. I promote the web page so that as many people as possible can benefit from it.

In order to make this a fair comparison tool and one not biased by any particular party, in particular Deep Web Technologies who is sponsoring this blog, I ask for everyone who wants to participate to add a comment to this post listing up to 20 sources they would like to see in everyone’s demo. Remember, anybody can submit source requests, not just vendors. I ask you to leave a valid email address with your comment so that I can contact people if I need clarification and to avoid drive-by commenting. Note that I am the only person who will see your email address unless you put it in your post. We’ll all use the 10 most frequently selected sources, introducing some randomness in the event of ties. If a source is particularly difficult to build a connector for, e.g. if there’s too much Ajax to overcome, then we’ll toss that source.

Here’s the timeline for construction of the demo apps and web page:

  1. Now: Everyone posts comments proposing sources to include for the demo apps.
  2. Friday, 2/15: The list of top 10 requested sources is created.
  3. Monday, 3/3: I start adding vendor information search boxes to the resource page but don’t make the page public yet.
  4. Tuesday, 4/1: I launch and start widely promoting the page.

I will be sending emails to all the federated search vendor contacts I have to invite them to join in. I would appreciate wide circulation of this post to let everyone in the federated search community know about this offering.

If you have a federated search offering please let me know if you will be participating.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 at 2:42 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or TrackBack URI from your own site.

5 Responses so far to "One-stop access to multiple federated search applications"

  1. 1 Stephen Francoeur
    January 26th, 2008 at 4:04 pm  

    ERIC, WorldCat.org, PubMed, find articles in DOAJ.org, Scirus

  2. 2 Stephanie Willen Brown
    January 28th, 2008 at 1:49 pm  

    Terrific idea! (thanks to Stephen for the link …)

    DOAJ (directory of open access journals)

  3. 3 Mining Metadata » Social Networking, Federated Searching & Participatory Librarionship
    February 2nd, 2008 at 4:52 pm  

    [...] http://federatedsearchblog.com/2008/01/26/one-stop-access-to-multiple-federated-search-applications/... Aside:  I am amazed at the bounty of blogs there are — and just in the library community!  It’s almost like opening a Russian nesting dolls; go to the next one, and there’s another. [...]

  4. 4 Dan
    February 21st, 2008 at 11:13 am  

    FAST Search and Transfer (www.fastsearch.com) offers a federated search product called Unity in conjunction with their enterprise search platform, if you don’t have them on your vendor list.

    I’d like to see PubMed and OVID in demos.

  5. 5 Stu
    March 19th, 2008 at 9:13 am  

    Coveo Enterprise Search has been implemented by many Global organizations during the past year. They address federated search in several ways- It would be well worth your time to take a CLOSE look at them….Coveo is a company on the rise!!

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