Author: Sol

Jeff Jonas recently published an article, “When Federated Search Bites.” If this article is meant to be link bait, I’m not biting. You can get a link from Google.

I certainly don’t know everything about federated search but I know enough to recognize what’s not federated search, at least not what most of us think to be federated search.

The article, really a rant, starts off reasonably enough:

Federated search: conducting a search against ?n? source systems via a broadcast mechanism without the benefit or guidance of an index.

I am speaking specifically about environments where the systems in the federation are heterogeneous, are physically dispersed, were not engineered for federation a priori, and are not managed by a common command and control system.

Here’s another reasonable statement:

Most organizations have some obligation to make sense of what they know. For example, the airline should know if the person added to the watch list is already an employee or already has a flight reservation. Ideally, the moment such facts become knowable, someone or some system should be notified. Think of this as ?the data speaks to itself.? I call this data finds data.

Yes, having new data trigger analysis is a good idea. But, IT’S NOT FEDERATED SEARCH.

So, the entire basis of the rant is that federated search is not this advanced analysis system I want therefore it sucks. That’s like saying that my oven doesn’t analyze the food I put in it and automatically cook it perfectly therefore my oven “bites.”

There may be a discussion about the challenges of analyzing federated data vs. indexed data but that has nothing to do with what federated search does.

What do you think? Does the article make sense to you?

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 26th, 2010 at 4:09 am 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.

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