Last month I gave away three copies of Christopher Cox’s book, Federated Search: Solution or Setback for Online Library Services, in exchange for reviews to be published on this blog. The books were kindly donated by Taylor & Francis.

Three volunteers stepped up and I have commitments to review these essays in the coming weeks:

  1. Build It (and Customize and Market It) and They Will Come
  2. Challenges for Federated Searching
  3. Integrating Library Services: A Proposal to Enable Federation of Information and User Services
  4. User Expectations in the Time of Google
  5. User Perceptions of MetaLib Combined Search
  6. Initiating the Learning Process
  7. Librarian Perspective on Teaching Metasearch and Federated Search Technologies
  8. Developing the right RFP for selecting your federated search product
  9. Planning and implementing a Federated Searching System
  10. SRU, Open Data and the future of Metasearch

I look forward to these ten reviews as they cover nearly half of the 22 essays in the book.

Christopher Cox, the book’s editor, has done a good job of selecting 22 essays that, together, provide a balanced view of life with federated search, including the planning, selection, and implementation stages. Areas covered include:


  • Transforming the Metasearch Concept into a Friendly User Experience
  • User Expectations in the Time of Google: Usability Testing
  • Protocol Analysis of a Federated Search Tool: Designing for Users
  • User Perceptions of MetaLib Combined Search: An Investigation of How Users Make Sense of Federated Searching


  • Developing the Right RFP for Selecting Your Federated Search Product: Lessons Learned and Tips from Recent Experience
  • Do We Step Together, in the Same Direction, at the Same Time? How a Consortium Approached a Federated Search Implementation
  • Wanted, Dead or Alive: Federated Searching for a Statewide Virtual Library


  • Implementation of a Federated Search System in the Academic Library: Lessons Learned
  • Accidental Federated Searching: Implementing Federated Searching in the Smaller Academic Library


  • Maintaining a Federated Search Service: Issues and Solutions


  • Building Custom Metasearch Interfaces and Services Using the MetLib X-Server
  • Build It (and Customize and Market It) and They Will Come


    The Accuracy and Thoroughness of a Federated Search Engine in the Health Sciences


  • Librarian Perspectives on Teaching Metasearch and Federated Search Technologies
  • Federated Searching: Instruction and Promotion on ARL Libraries’ Web Sites

A full table of contents can be found here.

I’ve not read enough of the book to understand where the part of the subtitle about “solution or setback” comes from. Yes, there are plenty of challenges with federated search and not all implementations work out the way we all would like them to. As I read through the book and share the reader reviews, I’ll be interested to see if the concerns and setbacks are ones I’ve not already written about before in this blog; if so, then I’ll share them.

Of special interest is an essay, “Metasearching: An Annotated Bibliography, by LeiLani Freund, John R. Nemmers, and Marilyn R. Ochoa.” This bibliography, in 20 pages, lists and summarizes 44 scholarly articles, many by well-known experts in the industry.

I recommend the book. Given the lack of books about the industry and the broad coverage of issues that readers of this blog care about, this book is worth having as a resource, regardless of whether you have an implementation up and running or whether you’re just starting to ask questions about what to procure.

Note: I am embarrassed to say, as I finish this article, that I have not been able to identify a source of the latest edition. (Amazon.com does not have the latest edition.) Haworth Press, the original publisher of the, has recently become part of Taylor and Francis and I believe there are still some details of the new relationship that make things, like finding a current copy of the book, a bit difficult. I will contact Taylor and Francis and follow up with ordering information. My apologizes to anyone who got all excited about the book and now doesn’t know how to buy a copy.

[ Update: 4/21/08. To purchase a copy of the book, please call Taylor & Francis Customer Service Monday-Friday 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. EDT at (800) 634-7064. ]

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed!

Tags: ,

This entry was posted on Friday, April 18th, 2008 at 6:15 pm and is filed under books, Cox essay review, 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.

Leave a reply

Name (*)
Mail (*)