Archive for November, 2009


There’s lots of conversation in the library world about the limitations of federated search. You’ve heard them all - speed (or lack thereof), limitations arising from not searching the native sources directly, challenges to relevance ranking, etc. etc. etc. In the enterprise, federated search challenges take on added dimensions.

InformationWeek recently published an article, “InformationWeek Analytics Research: Federated Search.” (You may need to register to read it.) The article names three obstacles to wider acceptance of federated search in the enterprise:

The problem isn’t technology. It’s the three Ps that plague many an IT initiative: politics, privacy, and perception.

Here’s just one example of a thorny issue that’s not technical: E-mail. Why not make e-mail searchable in the enterprise?

We understand the fear: E-mail search is one of the most politically charged areas CIOs will encounter. Almost every organization’s official policy is that e-mail is owned by the company and employees have no expectation of privacy, yet almost every survey respondent limited e-mail search to the individual level, with only 3% allowing search within departments or teams.

There’s good food for thought in this article. Searching enterprise data can be very different from searching journal articles.


Here’s a nice video interview. John Meyer of Silicon Prairie News interviews Will Bushee, VP of Development of BrightPlanet. I also found a link to a recent text interview with Mr. Bushee by Stephen Arnold.

BrightPlanet is a Deep Web search company. They’re best known for the seminal work that federated search luminary and BrightPlanet co-founder Michael Bergman did in sizing the Deep Web. The video provides an understandable introduction to the Deep Web plus discusses, at a very high level, what BrightPlanet does.