Sarah posted a comment to Abe’s post, Not all federated search engines are created equal. Sarah is looking for a hosted federated search solution for a library. She has explored several vendor offerings and is looking for a low-cost solution.

As we all know, federated search is a confusing market to understand, even for someone who is active in the industry. There are a number of vendors, offerings differ, features vary, some vendors provide custom solutions, others sell solutions in partnership with other companies. And, as we’ve seen recently, companies acquire other companies, and new partnerships form fairly frequently. Plus, no two customers have the same requirements or budget.

When I’m asked to recommend a product, vendor, or service, I have to decline for several reasons. First, I don’t want to put myself in a position of recommending one offering over another. As primary author of this blog, and having close relationship with Deep Web Technologies, recommending one vendor over another would be a conflict of interest. Second, I can’t keep up with the features and benefits of all the products and services in the market and, given how difficult it is to find application demos, it would not be easy for me to learn of all the vendor offerings with sufficient confidence to make a helpful recommendation. Third, I can’t make a recommendation of who to contact based on cost for a couple of reasons. It’s difficult to get cost information from vendors and cost is not a simple subject. When you say you want to spend less than $8,000 for a hosted solution, are you referring to a yearly cost? Are you factoring in training and support? Are you considering the cost to develop custom connectors?

Having told Sarah that I’m not going to be of much help, I do offer the following suggestions:

1. Contact the vendors in the vendor information page and see if one of them can meet your needs or can recommend someone who can.

2. Research the open source offerings that Frank Cervone and Jeff Wisniewski discuss in their Recent trends in federated search slide presentation.

3. See if any vendors or members of this blog community respond to this post to offer suggestions. If you want to be contacted by people directly then post a comment and provide contact information. If you want to be anonymous then that is fine too.

I’ve created a comments feed that you can subscribe to via email or RSS. I encourage all vendors and other interested parties to subscribe to the feed so that you can respond to requests for product information. The subscription offerings are at the top of the right sidebar - the orange RSS links for the blog and comments feeds and the links below for email subscription.

Can anyone provide guidance to Sarah?

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 at 10:12 pm and is filed under viewpoints. 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.

One Response to "Response to reader looking for low-cost federated search solution"

  1. 1 Carl Grant
    March 6th, 2008 at 1:03 pm  

    Sarah: There are a number of variables involved here in determining price, but we *might* have an affordable solution for you with our MasterKey offering. Please contact me via the contact tab on our webpage: http://www.care-affiliates.com

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