This is the final installment of the interview, which started here. Today’s focus includes challenges with federated search and Todd’s predictions of the future of the industry.

Todd is the second luminary that I recognize in this blog. You can find future and past luminary interviews in the luminary category. I invite you to nominate people who deserve to hold the federated search luminary distinction.

13. In your mind, what are the biggest problems facing federated search now?

I think the biggest problems facing federated search now are the same problems that have always faced federated search: 1) the seamed search experience, 2) turnaround time to upgrade connectors to react to changes in the native resource search interface, 3) performance, and 4) ease of administration. With respect to the seamed search issue, the very best that federated search can be is still not as good as the user experience one has when all the content is loaded, indexed and searched on a single system. This issue has much less to do with technology than with content rights and permissions.

14. As you may know, this blog is sponsoring a contest to predict the future of federated search. The winner gets fame and (a little bit of) fortune. I hope you’ll submit an entry although I’m sure you don’t need the money or publicity. In any case, do you have any thoughts on the future of federated search to share with those who are submitting essays for the contest?

I see federated search going in two directions, one for libraries and another for Googlers:

  • The library federated search model will eventually go the way of aggregated online search, but with a different business model. Libraries need a Lexis Nexis or Dialog with an intuitive front end that offers an affordable fixed price one-stop-shop for information. The ability to index and search all the content from a single bucket addresses the challenges with federated search I spoke to earlier in this interview. Obviously, this is less of a technology challenge and more of a content rights and permissions issue. Unlike the Google model below, I see the library model consisting chiefly of secondary publisher content, where primary publisher full text is licensed and resold through ProQuest, EBSCO, etc.

  • The Google version will flesh out the pay-per-view model we see emerging on Google Scholar, where citations are free, but full text is not. My assumption is that, over time, the majority of content on the Google model will be from primary publishers, though I can see potential for value-add by secondary publishers in this space. Provided Google has a critical mass of content, I believe there is a substantial market for this offering. Note: while I call this the “Google” version, others could certainly offer this service. Google has the resource to have made a comprehensive service available by now, and it is a bit puzzling that they haven’t already released a production grade offering. I can only assume that the reason it is not yet complete is because it is not a company priority. This is understandable, as the costs required to obtain the necessary rights and permissions with hundreds of publishers may not be seen by Google to have a large enough offset in advertising revenue to justify a quicker ramp up.

15. Your LinkedIn profile lists you as investor and entrepreneur. What kinds of ventures are you currently investing in?

At the moment, I’m only involved in my own new company, Technicopia. I’m also looking at opportunities in a variety of software technologies as well as next-generation battery technology.

16. I noticed the reference to Technicopia (another catchy name) in your LinkedIn profile. Google doesn’t find much about it and I notice that technicopia.com is parked. What can you tell me about this new venture?

Not much yet, I’m afraid — I’m in the early stages of getting this baby off the ground.

17. What did I forget to ask you?

Nothing I can think of — great questions! Thank you for this opportunity.

Thank you, Todd, for this great opportunity.

This concludes my interview with federated search luminary Todd Miller. Take a look at the luminary category for interviews with other federated search luminaries.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 at 1:29 pm and is filed under luminary. 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.

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