Archive for February, 2011


I recently got this question:

I’m new to federated search. You’ve written lots of articles (too many) about the subject. Can you give me a half dozen articles to read that would get me oriented? Oh, and if you would tell me what order to read them in that would be great too!

I took this request to heart and came up with my ordered list of basic articles. The list has 15 articles. Yes, the request was for six. My only defense is that many of the articles are a quick read and, since my list is in order, you can read just the first six and you’ll know a lot more than when you started.

I organize my list into three sections: federated search/deep web, discovery services, and federated search in the enterprise. I think everyone new to federated search needs to have an awareness of all three areas.

Here’s my list:

Federated Search and the Deep Web

Discovery Services

Federated Search in the Enterprise


I recently discovered an article, 5 Reasons Not to Use Google First, that sings my song. The article addresses this question:

Google is fast, clean and returns more results than any other search engine, but does it really find the information students need for quality academic research? The answer is often ‘no’. “While simply typing words into Google will work for many tasks, academic research demands more.” (Searching for and finding new information – tools, strategies and techniques)

The next paragraph gave me a chuckle.

As far back as 2004, James Morris, Dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, coined the term “infobesity,” to describe “the outcome of Google-izing research: a junk-information diet, consisting of overwhelming amounts of low-quality material that is hard to digest and leads to research papers of equally low quality.” (Is Google enough? Comparison of an internet search engine with academic library resources.)

The article continues with its list of five good reasons to not use Google first.

Note that the recommendation isn’t to skip Google altogether. There’s a balance that’s needed to get the best value when performing research. The findings in the “Is Google enough?” article summarizes this point really well:

Google is superior for coverage and accessibility. Library systems are superior for quality of results. Precision is similar for both systems. Good coverage requires use of both, as both have many unique items. Improving the skills of the searcher is likely to give better results from the library systems, but not from Google.


I learned, from Roy Tennant, about work that Microsoft and others are doing with natural user interfaces (NUIs). What’s an NUI? Here’s a piece of a Microsoft Blog article that gives you the gist:

One product that has gotten a lot of attention recently is our Kinect for Xbox 360, which incorporates facial recognition along with gesture-based and voice control. The device knows who you are, understands your voice or the wave of your hand and is changing the face of gaming as we know it. …

By combining sensory inputs with the knowledge of what you?re trying to do (contextual awareness), where you are and what is around you (environmental awareness), 3D simulation and anticipatory learning, we can foresee a future where technology becomes almost invisible. Imagine a world where interacting with technology becomes as easy as having a conversation with a friend.

I can’t quite fathom what search would like in a world of NUI but I’m looking forward to it.